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A senior EU official has called for same-sex marriage to be legalised across Europe under EU freedom of movement rules, the Irish Independent reports. Frans Timmermans, the European Commission's vice president, gave his backing to campaigners who argue that the marriage of a same-sex couple in one EU state should be recognised in all of them, and called for the Commission to lobby for the introduction of same-sex marriage in all 28 member countries.
One of Northern Ireland's leading pro-life campaigners has had a harassment conviction against her struck out on appeal. Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life had been convicted in November 2014 for allegedly pursuing a campaign of harassment against Dawn Purvis, then director of the Marie Stopes abortion clinic, on dates in January and February of that year. Ms Smyth had repeatedly denied the allegations against her, which arose from demonstrations taking place outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast.
The Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, has written to a number of prominent businesses to express concern at their public support for a same-sex marriage campaign in the country. Following the sponsoring of a full-page advertisement in The Weekend Australian by the corporations, which called on the government to amend the Australian Marriage Act of 1961, the Sydney archdiocese strongly criticised the the move and questioned the businesses' actions in backing the campaign for marriage redefinition.
A Christian couple in the US state of Iowa have been driven out of business following their refusal to host a same-sex marriage ceremony at their wedding chapel. Richard and Betty Odgaard both devout Mennonites, are the owners of Gortz Haus Gallery, a combined chapel, bistro, art gallery and flower shop in the town of Grimes. They were sued in 2013 by a gay couple on the grounds of discrimination whose marriage they declined to host on their premises.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the nation’s Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage in all states. In a 5-4 decision, the court’s panel acknowledged that "no union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were."
One of the front-runners for the leadership of the Labour Party in Britain has insisted that teaching that same-sex relationships are on a footing of "absolute equality" with heterosexual ones must be “absolutely compulsory” in all schools, including faith-based. As he continues his campaign to gain the party's top job, Andy Burnham, the current Shadow Health Secretary, said anyone arguing that such teaching in faith schools represents a threat to religious freedom is “straightforwardly wrong”.
Ireland will not hold a referendum on abortion before the next general election, a member of the Government has said. In response to specific call on the issue from the United Nations' Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin stated that no referendums would take place until after polling in the next election.
Austria's parliamentarians have rejected moves to legislate for same-sex marriage by a massive margin. In a vote held in the National Assembly, a motion to introduce gay marriage was roundly defeated by 110 votes to 26. Only members of the the nation's Green Party, which had tabled the motion, fully supported the move.
Over 30 pro-life organisations have urged the United Nations not to declare abortion a human right. As the UN prepares to vote – this September - on Sustainable Development Goals which are set to include universal access to "sexual and reproductive health-care services" by 2030, pro-life groups, interpreting such language as including abortion, responded to a submissions invitation from the Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) to make numerous individual requests to the body to recognise the right to life of the unborn and to resist pressures to have abortion recognised as a human right.
The government of Paraguay has rejected international pressure to proceed with an abortion on a young girl pregnant by rape. In the face of calls, from the UN and from Amnesty International for an immediate termination on the 24-week foetus carried by the 10-year-old, who is identified only as 'Mainumby', the Paraguayan ministry of health is insisting the pregnancy will result in birth and that the girl is receiving all necessary medical care. Abortion in Paraguay is illegal except in cases of threat to the well being of the mother.
A judge at Belfast's High Court has reserved judgement in a case aimed at extending abortion provision in Northern Ireland. Taken by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), the case comes in the wake of a submission to the Northern Ireland Assembly of a consultation document compiled by the Department of Justice on the issue of abortion provision in the region. Currently, Britain's 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to Northern Ireland, where a termination can only be undertaken to save the life of the mother.
Medical staff in Sweden have been denied conscientious objection rights on life matters following a decision from the European Committee of Social Rights. The committee had been asked by the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations (FAFCE) in 2013 to adjudicate on the lack of rights for medical practitioners in the country who do not want to take part in abortions.
Pro-life lobby groups and NGOs are calling on European legislators to “denounce and end” the practices of late abortion and 'neonatal infanticide' in Europe where a baby is left to die after a failed abortion. Ahead of the forthcoming session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) – this June 22-26 – the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), together with a grouping of NGOs, submitted the 'Petition for the rights of new-borns surviving their abortion'.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States have spoken out strongly in defence of traditional marriage ahead of the October Synod on Marriage in Rome. During their annual spring general assembly, the prelates made marriage a central focus of their discussions and responded warmly to the call from conference president Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to “be more effective in our communication of the meaning of marriage as one man and one woman”.
Girls under the age of consent in Britain are to be supplied the morning-after pill for the first time. Following a change in licencing decided by the European Medicines Agency, the EllaOne pill, which causes early-stage abortion, is to be made available to all females of reproductive age. Morning-after pills were previously only available to those aged 16 or over.
A leading Jewish academic in Britain has expressed his dismay at the persecution aimed at Christians there for their opposition to gay marriage. Writing in The Jewish Chronicle in the wake of the judgement handed down against Ashers Bakery in Belfast in the so-called 'gay cake case', Professor Geoffrey Alderman states: “Over the past year I have watched in horror as practising Christians in the UK have been persecuted (there is no other word for it) because of their principled opposition to ‘gay marriage'.”
Mexico's Supreme Court has extended the availability of same-sex marriage nationwide following a major ruling of the country's constitution. The court ruled: “Any state law which considers that the purpose of marriage is procreation and/or that defines it as being celebrated between one man and one woman, is unconstitutional,” the judicial paper issued after the ruling read.
The European Parliament is calling on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to remove gender identity issues from its list of medical disorders. As part of the Parliament's strategy towards defending 'gender diversity' in the years 2016-2020, MEPs debated the 'EU Strategy for equality between women and men post-2015' report which was compiled by the EU’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has voiced his personal opposition to euthanasia during parliamentary questions on the subject. As the British Parliament gears up for a September debate on 'assisted suicide', Mr Cameron said: “I don’t support the assisted dying proposals. I don’t support euthanasia,” and added, “I know there are imperfections and problems with the current law, but I think these can be dealt with sensitively and sensibly without having a new law that actually brings in euthanasia.”
Nearly 2% of all people who die in Belgium are euthanised without consent, a new report has found. According to the report, entitled 'First do no harm: intentionally shortening lives of patients without their explicit request in Belgium', 1.7% of all Belgian deaths are as a result of doctors euthanising patients without prior consent of any form.
Ashers Baking Company, the Belfast business at the centre of a court action over having to bake a pro-same-sex marriage cake has launched its legal bid for an appeal to the ruling made against it last month. According to The Christian Institute, which has backed Ashers’ owners, the McArthur family, and fund-raised for their legal defence, lawyers for the company have now lodged papers with Judge Isobel Brownlie, seeking leave to take the case to the Court of Appeal.
he number of abortions taking place in US states is declining, in some states by as much as 30% since 2010. According to the Associated Press, which gained health records from 45 states, America has experienced an average 12% decline in abortions since 2010. Such states include Oregon, Washington and New York, where unrestricted access to abortion continues and where, in each case, declines in abortions have been recorded.
The Pro-Life Campaign (PLC) has criticised the United Nations for its questioning of Ireland’s legal protections for the unborn. Addressing a session of the UN’s Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, which convened in Geneva, Switzerland, to examine Ireland’s record on a broad range of social issues, including the current bar on abortion, Lorcan Price of the PLC pointed out that despite a clear ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that states of the European Union are free, under the terms of the European Convention, to legislate individually on issues affecting the unborn, the Committee has repeatedly questioned and criticised Ireland for not liberalising its abortion laws.
The beauty of marriage between a man and a woman is threatened by gender ideology, Pope Francis has warned. Speaking at the Vatican as he hosted the Bishops of Puerto Rico, the Pontiff explained that the complementarity of traditional marriage bonds is being undermined by gender ideology in the name of gaining a more just society.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that a French coma patient can be allowed to die. Vincent Lambert has been in a coma in a hospital in Reims for the past seven years following catastrophic injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
A florist in the US state of Washington has launched a legal appeal against a ruling that she discriminated against a same-sex couple planning to get married. She would not provide flowers to their wedding because she does not believe in same-sex marriage. Baronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers and Gifts, is attempting to challenge her convictions – in twin lawsuits - under anti-discrimination and consumer laws after her refusal to create floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding ceremony.
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is to hear its first ever case on surrogacy following an appeal by the Italian government. The case, which will have far-reaching consequences for member states of the Council of Europe, centres on an Italian couple who procured a child via a surrogate mother for a payment of €49,000 to a Russian company specialising in surrogacy and in vitro fertilisation.
The Northern Ireland Assembly is unlikely to move on the issue of same-sex marriage despite a vote in favour by Belfast City Council. In a motion introduced by Emmet McDonough-Brown of the Alliance Party, the council supported a call for the introduction of same-sex marriage legislation by 38 votes to 13.
Any push to introduce same-sex marriage to Australia will be defeated, a leading senator has vowed. As Australia continues to debate the issue in the wake of Ireland’s recent Yes to gay marriage, government Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said resistance she had found both within her party and more broadly among Australian citizens gave her confidence that same-sex marriage would not be introduced.
Scotland's parliament has rejected a move to legislate for assisted suicide by more than a two to one majority . Described as “poorly thought out” and “badly conceived” by critics, the Assisted Suicide Bill was defeated by 82 votes to 36 when placed before legislators at Holyrood for debate.
Proposed changes to Ireland's Employment Equality Act in the area of religious-run institutions are unnecessary and should not be implemented, the Chairman of the Board of the Iona Institute has said. Responding to a proposal made by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, the country's Minister of State for Equality, to amend legislation – specifically section 37.1 of the Act - to remove the right of Church-backed schools and hospitals to select staff in keeping with religious ethos, Dr John Murray told The Irish Times that should such a move take place, denominational education should be afforded protection.
The Northern Ireland bakery that would not bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan on it is to appeal the ruling of discrimination made against earlier this month. Following a judgement by Belfast County Court that Ashers Baking Company had breached equality legislation by refusing to bake the requested cake, the owners, the McArthur family, issued a statement in which they announced their intention to challenge the ruling.
Feminist icon and author Germaine Greer has attacked the singer Elton John for registering his gay partner as the 'mother' of the couple's children. During an address at the annual Hay literary festival in England, Greer said the move to list David Furnish as a 'mother' served to illustrate how motherhood has been damaged and rendered invalid by redefined familial units.
Following the referendum result on Friday, The Iona Institute is calling on both sides in the debate to enter into a dialogue about how to strengthen marriage in Ireland.
A GROUP of senior lawyers have today issued a major statement outlining seven reasons why the Irish people should vote No in the marriage referendum next week.
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