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Labour leader Ed Miliband (pictured) has said same-sex weddings should be allowed in churches, the BBC reports. His call goes further than the policy being proposed by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition Government which only proposes to allow gay marriages in civic settings. He made the statement in a video for the Out4Marriage campaign.
Two Labour TDs have said that the Catholic Church should come out in support of the Government's children's rights referendum. Speaking in the Dáil yesterday in the debate on the referendum, Anne Ferris (pictured) and Michael McNamara said the Church should support the amendment.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of fathers demanding more access to their children in divorce cases, according to new UK figures. The increase comes in the wake of moves by the UK government to introduce shared parenting into law, the Daily Telegraph reports. A second reason offered by experts for the increase is the effect of the recession on people’s relationships.
Churches should come out and support the Government's referendum on children's rights, the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, has said. Speaking during the debate on the legislation to allow the referendum take place on November 10th, Mr Noonan said he would like “if the churches made a clear statement at an early date indicating that they favoured this referendum”.
A Danish man who fathered 43 children at 14 different IVF clinics in ten different countries by donating sperm, passed on a genetic disorder known as NF1 to at least five babies born from IVF procedures, it has been revealed. The man was allowed to continue donating, despite national rules in Denmark restricting donors to 25 times.
The Pope has defended marriage at a meeting in Rome of Christian Democrat leaders which included Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Speaking at the weekend to a meeting of the Christian/Centrist Democrat international organization’s Executive Committee, Pope Benedict said that the commitment to protect all human life was “interwoven with respecting marriage as an indissoluble union between a man and a woman and, in its turn, as the foundation for the community of family life”.
A legal academic has questioned whether the upcoming children’s rights amendment goes far enough in making it easier for the State to intervene in families. Writing in yesterday's Irish Examiner, Dr Conor O'Mahony, a lecturer in Constitutional law in UCC, suggested that the retention of the phrase “in exceptional circumstances” in the amendment raised questions as to whether what he called “the excessively high threshold for State intervention” would really be lowered.
France's new Socialist Government is set to remove the words 'mother' and 'father' from all official documents under its plans to legalise same-sex marriage. The draft law states that 'marriage is a union of two people, of different or the same gender'. The new law will also swap all references to 'mothers and fathers' for the word “parents" in the French civil code, the Daily Mail reports.
Mums in the UK would like to stay at home and look after their children but financial pressures are forcing them back to work, according to a new study. According to research, 75 per cent of new mothers would remain at home if money was no object. Almost 60 per cent told the study they are forced back to work because of debt and financial worries.
Living together is no longer simply a “trial run” for marriage, but it has replaced marriage for many couples, an academic study into the shape of family life in Britain has found. The finding comes after official figures showed that the proportion of cohabiting couples with children equalled that for married couples for the first time, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The Christian owner of a bed and breakfast home in the UK is being sued by a same-sex couple after she refused to let them stay in a double room because of her religious views. Michael Black, 64, and partner John Morgan, 59, sought damages from Susanne Wilkinson after she declined to let them have the room at the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire, in March 2010, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Diversity in Irish education “is not about eliminating difference” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (pictured) has said. Speaking on Wednesday at a Mass for the opening of the school year, Dr Martin said that religious education cannot “become simply a colourless presentation of the history or the sociology of religion”.
The number of people who have experienced marital breakdown has risen by nearly a quarter since the 2006 Census, according to figures published yesterday by the Central Statistics Office. The data, published in the CSO's Households and Families document, showed that number of separated and divorced people increased by 22.3 per cent between 2006 and 2011 from 166,797 to 203,964. Two thirds of the increase (24,784) was among those aged 55 and over.
The Government has published the wording of its proposed children’s referendum. The wording of the proposed Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution, was published yesterday, and it provides for, amongst other things, the adoption of the children of married couples, “ where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require”.
The Australian Senate has rejected a bill to legalise same-sex marriage, mirroring the result in the lower house earlier this week. Senators voted earlier today against the private members bill sponsored by Labour backbenchers Trish Crossin, Carol Brown and Gavin Marshall by 41 votes to 26. It followed a lower house vote on Wednesday on a separate private members bill put up by Labour's Stephen Jones, which was defeated 98 votes to 42.
The UK could be on the verge of legalising a fertility treatment which enables babies to have three genetic parents. Advocates say that the treatment would enable children to be born free of genetic diseases, but opponents say that it raises serious ethical questions. Members of the public are being asked whether families with a genetic risk of incurable conditions like muscular dystrophy should be allowed to use the DNA of a third party to create healthy children, the Daily Telegraph reports.
An Austrian lesbian couple who are attempting to deprive the natural father of their child his right to access and care for the child are set to have their case heard before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. The case, X and others v. Austria, involves a woman who wishes to adopt the son of her female partner. The two women are arguing that current Austrian law regarding adoption is an infringement of their private life and discriminatory.
The Government is set to approve the outline of a children’s rights amendment to the Constitution at today’s Cabinet meeting, with Friday, November 9th as the likely polling-date. However it is not thought that a wording will be published for a short time yet, as some details have yet to be finalised, the Irish Times reports.
Parents in parts of Dublin, Mayo, Meath, Wicklow and Waterford will begin voting within weeks on whether they want to hand over a Catholic primary school in their area to another patron body. The move is part of the Department of Education's plan to divest schools from the control of the Catholic Church. Under the plan, parents in given areas are to be given the choice as to whether to retain the patronage of the Catholic Church for their school, or whether to change patron.
No allowances for conscientious or religious objection will be permitted in the France’s planned same-sex marriage legislation, according to French Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira. Speaking to the mainstream Catholic daily La Croix on Wednesday, Ms Taubira gave the broad outlines of the same-sex marriage bill to be presented by the government by the end of October, Lifesitenews reports.
The BBC and other broadcasters are dominated by a “liberal secular elite” whose “default position” is to assume that Christians are “lunatics”, a Radio 4 broadcaster warned last night. In an outspoken attack, Roger Bolton, a former presenter of the station’s Sunday programme, warned that those in charge of broadcasting suffered from a “suicidal” ignorance about religion. He said the BBC was failing to meet its obligations as a public service broadcaster to improve understanding of religion.
A Muslim woman who worked as a sales assistant at Dunnes Stores has claimed she was unable to go to work because she was not allowed to wear a hijab, or headscarf. Loreta Tavoraite (35), is a Lithuanian who converted to Islam after she began working in a Dunnes Stores in Ballincollig in Cork in July 2007. For religious reasons wanted to wear a hijab, a headscarf that covers the hair, leaving the face exposed.
Proposals to make it easier to adopt are misguided, according to a retired social worker and former childcare manager with the HSE. Writing in The Irish Times today, Mr Eric Plunkett was responding to Children's Ombudsman Emily Logan who has said Government's proposed children’s rights referendum should make it possible to adopt the children of married parents without their consent in certain circumstances.
An international survey has shown that Irish primary school children on average spend more time learning religion and less time on mathss and science than children in other developed countries. The report, published by the OECD, says that despite the growth in science-based jobs in industry, very little time is given to the subject in Irish primary schools.
The Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan (pictured), has said that she believes a children's referendum can be of benefit to children. Writing in today's Irish Times, Ms Logan says that while the focus of the debate has been mainly on the impact of a new wording on court proceedings, an overlooked aspect of the debate was decision-making by civil and public administration. She said: “I believe that an amendment to the Constitution has the potential to have a significant effect on decision-making by public bodies and, consequently, have a positive impact on children’s lives.”
UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (pictured) has sought to reassure Church leaders after a draft speech he was due to give described same-sex marriage opponents as “bigots”. The comment has landed Mr Clegg in trouble after it appeared in prepared remarks which he was due to give at an event this week. Mr Clegg wrote to senior clerics in both the Church of England and the Catholic Church to disown the remarks.
Teachers who disagree same-sex marriage in the classroom could be fired under controversial UK Government reforms, according to a prominent lawyer. In a report on the legal implications of Government plans to introduce same-sex marriage, Aidan O’Neill, a senior QC and expert on religious freedom and human rights, also warned that the most serious impact of the new laws is likely to be felt in the church where vicars and priests conducting religious marriage ceremonies could be taken to court for refusing to carry out a gay wedding.
Hundreds of Jewish, Muslim and Christian protesters demonstrated in the German capital of Berlin on Sunday for religious freedom and the decriminalisation of circumcision. Police officials said 300 demonstrators appeared at Bebelplatz in the Mitte district in eastern Berlin. The protest was in reaction to a new directive issued by Berlin's Justice Minister, Thomas Heilmann , which introduced strict new rules for circumcision, the Jerusalem Post reported.
There is no need for the Government to hold a referendum to secure children's rights, a former Supreme Court judge has said. Writing in the Irish Independent, Hugh O'Flaherty said that the aims of the proposed referendum could be addressed by legislation. Mr O'Flaherty is the latest prominent legal figure to cast doubt on plans to hold a children's rights referendum. The Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald (pictured), has repeatedly insisted that the Government's promise to hold such a vote this year remain on course.
Legislation allowing people to change the sex registered on their birth certificates and other official documents without having to undergo “sex change” operations is set to come before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Social Protection in coming weeks. The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton (pictured), made the announcement at the opening session of the fourth European Transgender Council meeting in Dublin yesterday. Ms Burton said enacting such legislation was a priority for her.
The grandparents of two children in Scotland adopted by a same-sex couple have been denied access to them for three years. The grandparents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, say they were prevented from continuing to care for the youngsters because they were deemed ‘too old’ to care for them. However the City of Edinburgh Council denies that this was the case.
The British Government has appointed its first ever Minister for Faith. Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Baroness Sayeeda Warsi (pictured) Minister for Faith and Communities in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this week. Formerly co-chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio, Baroness Warsi becomes a Senior Minister of State and will attend cabinet, although not as a full member.
Having sex early in a relationship can lead to less emotionally satisfying relationships further down the road, according to a new study from New York’s Cornell University reported in The Daily Mail. According to the researchers delaying sex in a relationship is a better approach to building up a healthy relationship.
Social services in the UK failed on numerous occasions to intervene in the case of a toddler who ended up being killed by his father giving him methadone according to an independent review published on Tuesday. The report catalogued a series of failures by a range of professional bodies in the months before Jayden Lee Green died in his drug addict parents’ squalid flat in August last year, the Daily Telegraph says.
Church organisations must not lose their Christian identity when making their case in the public square, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (pictured) has warned. Speaking at a meeting of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) Assembly currently underway in Nicosia, Cyprus Archbishop Martin warned that when Church bodies become simply lobbying organisations like other lobbying organisations, they lose their proper direction.
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