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Newly compiled figures show that at least 57 babies born to a surrogate mother have been brought to Ireland by Irish couples since 2008, according to The Irish Independent. The true number for foreign surrogacy may be much higher, given that the compiling of figures has been based on emergency travel certificates, a document required of parents bringing a child into Ireland, but not mandatory for all countries of origin. Thus, while researchers have been able to look at children originating in India, for example, no accurate figure can be ascertained for the United States, where a baby is in receipt of a passport when born.
A Catholic bishop in Northern Ireland has criticised laws which enforce “prejudice and discrimination” against people of faith. Speaking before legislators at the North's Assembly earlier this week ahead of the introduction of a proposed Freedom of Conscience Bill, Bishop Noel Treanor of the Diocese of Down and Connor said that current laws, such as equality legislation which omits a conscience clause, requires people of faith to act against their consciences in ways that simply would not be tolerated by other sectors of society.
“The media is the main driver for abortion in Ireland,” a leading pro-life advocacy group has stated. As it prepares to roll out a major information campaign on what it sees as the media's pro-abortion agenda, the Pro Life Campaign (PLC) has accused the national media of “blatant” bias on the issue.
Ireland’s proposed surrogacy legislation will “devalue the importance of mothers and fathers in the lives of children” a family advocacy group has warned. Reacting to news that the Health Minister Leo Varadkar (pictured) is currently working on draft legislation towards regulating surrogacy, while banning commercial surrogacy outright, the Mothers and Fathers Matter group stated that, if implemented, the proposed legislation will in fact “violate the rights of both women and children”.
The Church has a right and a duty to “speak out on social issues” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said. Referring to the same-sex marriage debate, Dr Martin stressed that “the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage is well known and is not something just Irish. That teaching is the same in Ireland and in any other country in the world and does not change according to fashion.”
A Catholic bishop has stated that campaigners for a Yes vote in Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum are not seeking 'marriage equality'. Speaking at a gathering in Dublin last night, Bishop Kevin Doran, the Irish bishops' spokesman on bioethics and a member of their Council on the family and marriage said that in order for ‘marriage equality’ to exist in fact would necessitate a change to the meaning of marriage or the removal of the openness of marriage to procreation as an intrinsic part of marriage.
Europe's bishops have denounced surrogacy as “a violent assault on human dignity” in a new document released this week. At a special event at the European Parliament in Brussels, the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) unveiled its 'Opinion on Gestational Surrogacy: the question of European and International Rules' towards explaining the prelates' position on surrogacy.
A claim that same-sex marriage is a human right, made by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), has been rejected by a legal expert. In a policy statement released ahead of the forthcoming same-sex marriage referendum, the IHREC stated it “believes that the opening out of civil marriage to two persons without distinction as to their sex is a matter of equality and human rights”.
A Christian florist in the US state of Washington has been found to be in breach of anti-discrimination laws for not supplying flowers for a same-sex wedding. Despite mounting a defence under her rights to freedom of religion and expression, Baronelle Stutzman fell foul of Benton County Superior Court, which ruled that while the US Constitution protects religious beliefs, it does not necessarily extend such protection to actions arising from those beliefs. Explaining that the state has a duty, under its anti-discrimination legislation, to prevent incidences of discrimination, the court ruled that refusing to supply a service to a gay couple fell under that law and further ruled that Stutzman was liable for damages for her actions.
A massive ninety-one percent of people believe that when a child is being placed for adoption, it is best to place the child with a man and a woman, a new opinion poll conducted by Amarach Research on behalf of The Iona Institute has found. The new Children and Family Relationships Bill contains no such preference meaning.
The Catholic bishops of New York state have unveiled a new website in their campaign against assisted suicide. As state legislators gear up for a debate on physician-assisted suicide, the bishops announced the launch of www.catholicendoflife.org, a site designed to communicate Church teaching on the issue.
The Children and Family Bill must be amended to give preference to mothers and fathers, a new advocacy group. Mothers and Father’s Matter has said. Responding to the Bill, published today, Mothers and Fathers Matter commended portions of the proposed legislation, such as improved guardianship rights for unmarried fathers, but took issue with those elements it believes undermine the central roles of mothers and fathers in the lives of children.
Italy’s constitutional court has ruled there is no provision in the country’s constitution to force the provision of same-sex marriage rights. In a ruling arising from a case brought by gay activists that gay people faced discrimination in being unable to wed, the Court of Cassation declared that there was, in fact, nothing discriminatory in the refusal by legislators to alter or create legislation to redefine marriage.
Ireland’s State-run postal service An Post has denied that a stamp produced for Valentine’s Day is intended to back a Yes vote in the forthcoming same-sex marriage referendum. According to The Irish Catholic newspaper, the latest stamp, employing the word ‘LOVE’ in multi-coloured lettering, also includes, as part of the red letter ‘E’ an equals sign, an internationally recognised symbol for support of gay marriage.
Pope Francis has described children as “a gift” vital to the wellbeing of a happy society in his latest weekly audience. Following on from earlier audiences dealing with the responsibilities of mothers and fathers respectively, the Pontiff turned his attention to the importance of children, both within the family and to the wider world.
Over two thirds of Irish people believe that children are happier when raised by a “loving mother and father”. The finding is just one contained in a new survey on attitudes to marriage and the family conducted by Amarach Research on behalf of the Accord, the Catholic Marriage Agency.
Canada has been urged to improve its provision of palliative care following a Supreme Court decision to legalise assisted suicide.
The Council of Europe has adopted a resolution to counter intolerance against Christians. In a vote at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council, 'Tackling intolerance and discrimination in Europe with a special focus on Christians' was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 67 to 2. There were 15 abstentions.
A Christian bakery in the US state of Oregon faces a fine of up to $150,000 after a court found them guilty of ‘discrimination’. The company had declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
A European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision concerning a child obtained by an Italian couple from a surrogate mother in Russia has been condemned as “ratifying the sale of children”.
Luxembourg is to ban religious education in State schools irrespective of the wishes of parents. The move in the Catholic majority country will see religion classes in schools replaced with lessons on ethics and morals, to include classes on world religions.
The House of Commons has voted to legalise the creation of “three parent babies” who will have genetic material from three different adults. Proposals to allow for the procedure passed in a free vote, with 382 MPs were in favour and 128 against.
A majority of Italians oppose gay marriage and gay adoption, a new survey of attitudes in the country has revealed. Despite something of a liberal shift in other areas, such as surrogate motherhood and the morning after pill, of those polled by the European Institute of Political, Economic and Social Studies (Eurispes), 59.2% voiced opposition to full marriage rights for gay couples.
The case against a bakery in Northern Ireland which refused to bake a cake with a pro-same sex marriage message will be heard at the end of March. Ashers Bakery, in Newtownabbey, was issued with legal proceedings after the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland contended that the business, despite being founded and run by a Christian family, had no right to refuse a request from a customer for a cake bearing an image of Sesame Street characters Ernie and Bert alongside the message ‘Support gay marriage’. The Equality Commission decided last November to take the case to court, resulting in a listing for the case this March 26 and 27.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of British education standards body Ofsted, has denied that it has an anti-Christian agenda after he faced criticism from MPs on the House of Commons select committee on education. MPs on the committee said they had been inundated with emails from parents who were furious after Ofsted issued damning reports on two schools with a Christian ethos, saying that they failed to uphold British values and to “prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.”
Two doctors in Britain are facing charges in connection with gender-based abortion, normally meaning the aborting of a foetus simply because it is female.
Pope Francis has lamented the absence of fathers from families and warned of the consequences for children. Devoting his general audience address this week to the topic of fatherhood, the Pontiff said that “the problem of our times no longer seems to be the invasive presence of fathers, but rather their absence”.
The Church of England has condemned as “irresponsible” a move to legislate for three-parent families in Britain. Ahead of a parliamentary debate next week around amending the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 to allow for mitochondrial DNA transfer, widely mooted as a medical advance against certain debilitating conditions, the Church of England moved to caution that ethical and scientific questions remain unanswered on the issue.
Northern Ireland's Employment and Learning Minister has been accused of leading “an attack on all Catholic schools” following his announcement of savage cuts to a leading Catholic teacher training college.
A court in Germany has ruled that children conceived via sperm donation have a right to know the identity of their biological father at any age and do not have to wait until they are 16 as was previously the case. The forthcoming Children and Family Relationships Bill here in Ireland makes children wait until they are 18 before they can know the identity of their sperm donor father. In Ireland most donor sperm is imported from overseas.
Portugal's legislators have voted against allowing gay couples to adopt. In a vote on January 22nd the Lisbon parliament rejected a move by opposition parties, Socialist, Left Bloc and Greens, to update existing gay marriage legislation to accommodate adoption by same-sex couples.
The political grouping to which Fine Gael belongs in the European Parliament has launched a defence of the traditional definition of the family based on the union of a man and a woman.
Confidence that same-sex marriage will be overwhelmingly carried in the forthcoming referendum has been undermined by the findings of a new poll. According to a Red C Poll compiled for the Sunday Business Post last weekend, while there is still majority support for proposition, at 77%, researchers describe this as 'soft support' which could be lost by voting day.
Britain's Christian Institute has criticised the government's school inspectorate, Ofsted, for having 'twisted priorities' after it closed a Christian school for 'discriminatory views'.
In a major legal victory, a Christian advocacy group in Britain has received an apology after an event it planned was barred from a Government-owned venue due to its backing for traditional marriage.
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