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Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton is to address a major international transsexual rights conference in Dublin next month. The conference is sponsored by Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and TENI Director Broden Giambrone said that the event “provides an ideal platform for activists to share experiences, resources and best practice”. The conference will bring together groups belonging to Transgender Europe which is a network of campaigning organisations throughout Europe affiliated to the United Nations, the European Parliament and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Married men earn more over their lifetime than either single men divorced men according to a new study. Using Census data on wage and income, Drs Pat Fagan and Henry Potrykus, of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, looked at earnings for divorced men, married men and single men. According to their findings those men who stayed married made more money than those who had ever been divorced and those never married.
Claims that Catholic schools cannot create a sense of civic virtue run “completely contrary to the Catholic education tradition which is built on a respect for faith and reason” the head of a leading Catholic schools body has said. Fr Michael Drumm (pictured), the Chairman of the Catholic Schools Partnership, said that contemporary Irish discourse tended to “dismiss religious belief as inherently irrational, divisive, and anti-intellectual”.
The least religious states in the US also tend to give the least money to charity, a new study suggests. The study, published yesterday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.
A United Nations document, initiated by Russia and intended to uphold traditional values has been hijacked by other countries, including the US and a number of European countries, according to C-Fam, which monitors family and life issues at the UN. According to C-Fam, a process was initiated on the Human Rights Council last year by Russia with the aim of working towards a resolution to find a positive link between traditional values and human rights generally.
A series of pro-same-sex marriage advocates have been nominated to the Government's Constitutional Convention by a number of non-governmental organisations. The groups are part of an umbrella initiative by the Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL) called Hear our Voices. According to a statement by the ICCL, the nominations are “the result of a call for nominations to over 900 organisations” through this initiative.
A significant number of US fertility clinics who recruit egg donors online are not adhering to the industry's own ethical guidelines, a new study says. Their ethical failures include not warning women of the risks of the procedure and offering extra payment for traits like good looks. Egg donation, like sperm donation is often criticized in itself for ‘commodifying’ the children that result and for deliberately breaking the link between children and their natural, biological parents.
Ireland has seen a rise in suicide among older teenagers, according to a new study. The research, published in the Irish Medical Journal, looked at the number of suicides carried out by those under 18 in the years between 1993 and 1998, and the years between 2003 and 2008. The figures showed a small reduction in the number of suicides among those aged between 5 and 14.
A gay rights worker is being held by police after the shooting of a security guard at the offices of the Family Research Council (FRC), a pro-family, pro-religion think tank in Washington D.C. The attack has been condemned by President Barack Obama and Republican party presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Brian Brown, the President of the National Organisation for Marriage said that the shooting was "the clearest sign we've seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as 'hateful' must end".
A mental health worker in the UK who was sacked for giving a work colleague a pro-life booklet has settled her legal action against the NHS out of court. Margaret Forrester (pictured), a Catholic, give the colleague the booklet which highlighted the potential physical and psychological damage some women suffer after an abortion. Miss Forrester was told that the leaflet amounted to “offensive” material.
Denominational schools are a crucial means of protecting diversity, former Taoiseach, John Bruton, has said. In an address to the Parnell summer school at Avondale, Co Wicklow on Sunday, he said Parnell understood that “Irish people saw a link between ethical formation and religious belief, and thus favoured denominational involvement in education, as most of them still do”. His remarks come as the Government plans a White Paper later this year which, it is believed, will recommend major changes in the current system of denominational education.
Religious freedom in the United States faces threats of “unprecedented gravity” the Vatican has warned. In a letter on behalf of Pope Benedict (pictured) to U.S. Catholic group, the Knights of Columbus, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said that “concerted efforts are being made to redefine and restrict the exercise of the right to religious freedom.”
Japan has seen a dramatic drop in the number of second level students engaged in sexual activity for the first time since the 1970s, according to a new survey. The research, conducted by the Japanese Association for Sex Education (JASE) that 15pc second level boys had had sex compared to 27pc in 2005, a 50pc drop in seven years. The decline in sexual activity was less marked among girls, decreasing from 30pc in 2005 to 24pc in 2012.
A federal U.S. court has ruled that a Hawaiian law which defines marriage as between a man and a woman does not violate the U.S. Constitution. The ruling by Judge Alan. C. Kay on Wednesday broke a string of court losses by advocates for traditional marriage on the subject of same-sex marriage. It comes before the Supreme Court is expected to hear a case on California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage in the same way before it was struck down by the Ninth Circut Court ruled that it was unconstitutional.
Forbidding discussion of public values in the name of 'pluralism and tolerance' is “a formula for tyranny” Chicago's Cardinal Francis George has said. In his blog this week, Cardinal George warned that the context in which discussion of controversial issues such as abortion or marriage takes place often narrows very quickly and dangerously. And he warned that appeals “to pluralism and toleration gradually become tyrannical”.
The death of an Indian girl who had been donating eggs only two days before she died is set to shine a spotlight on the use by wealthy Western couples of eggs from young women from the developing world. The girl, Sushma Pandey, who was 17, died two years ago today. Hospital records also indicate that she was admitted there on August 8, 2010, at 8.30 am and discharged the same day at 7.30 pm. The next day, she complained of abdominal pain. On August 10, 2010, she died.
Ireland has experienced a big fall in the number of people who describe themselves as religious, and has one of the highest percentages of atheists in the world, a new international poll has claimed. The survey was commissioned by Gallup, and carried out in 57 countries throughout the world. Red C carried out the poll in Ireland, using an online sample of 1,000 last December.
Renewed efforts must be made to build strong marriages, which serve as the foundation of any healthy society, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York (pictured) has said. He said that Catholics believed that “the best way to get a hint of how God loves us now, and in eternity, is to look at how you, married couples, love one another”. Cardinal Dolan, who serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivered the keynote address at the Knights of Columbus' States Dinner in Anaheim, California on Tuesday.
A law in the US state of Minnesota which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman does not deny same-sex partners the "benefits of marriage," including the right to inherit each other's assets. The ruling, handed down last Wednesday, doesn't set pa recedent because it upholds a lower court's ruling, but it could affect cases in other states with laws barring same-sex marriage, the Star Tribune reported.
Childcare costs have shot up for many families, according to a new survey by the Irish Independent. However, figures from the Central Statistics Office from 2009 show that demand for childcare is less than usually assumed. And in 2010, it emerged that 30,000 children eligible for a Government scheme to provide a free pre-school year did not enroll, suggesting that demand for paid childcare was lower than estimated. According to the survey, some families are paying more for childcare than for mortgage repayments, with some paying up to €1,100 a month to have just one child minded.
Cohabiting couples in America are having more children, according to new US government figures. The number of births overall to cohabiting women increased from 14pc of all births in 2002 to 23pc in 2006-10, according to the first US government report since 1990 on intended and unintended births. Data released last month by the National Center for Health Statistics show that more than three-quarters of all births to married women were planned, compared with about half of births to cohabiting women and a third of births to women who are unmarried and not cohabiting.
A senior UK Government advisor has compared evangelical Christians to “totalitarian Muslims”. In an article in the Daily Telegraph, Alan Judd, an advisor to the Secretary of State for Education, was commenting on recent free school applications by Evangelical Christians. Mr Judd wrote: “To ban believers from setting up free schools would be to exclude a large number of able, well-meaning and experienced people who can do much to raise levels generally.
Civil wedding ceremonies outnumbered church weddings in Scotland last year, according to new official figures. The figures, produced on Thursday by the General Registrar's Office for Scotland, showed that just over half of all marriages (52 per cent) were civil ceremonies, carried out by a registrar. Just over half of these civil ceremonies took place in registry offices, with the rest taking place in ‘approved places’ such as hotels.
The row over the US fast food chain Chick-fil-A due to its support for traditional marriage continues to grow with gay rights campaigners declaring they plan a “kiss in” at various outlets of the chain. However, supporters of the chain are flocking to its restaurants in solidarity with long queues forming outside some branches. After the founder of Chick fil A declared his support for traditional marriage, the mayors of Chicago, Boston and San Francisco said that the company was not welcome in their cities.
A British judge has ruled that a 10-year-old Jewish girl can convert to Christianity after a judge rejected her mother's claims that she had been “brainwashed” and instead agreed with her father that she can change her religion. The girl’s parents, who are divorced were in dispute over the girl's wish to be baptised at the church her father, himself a convert from Judaism, now attends. The parents have equal access and custody rights. Their daughter spends alternative weeks with each of them.
A controversial mandate introduced by the Obama Administration, which insists that religious employers place their workers in insurance schemes that provide them with free abortifacient and sterilisation services, went into effect yesterday. Opponents of the measure seemed willing to let the landmark date pass without much comment as they prepare for future court battles.
Almost one-third of all marriages in Northern Ireland were celebrated by a civil ceremony, according to new figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). In 2011, 2,732 out of 8,366 marriages were by civil ceremony. Meanwhile, only 89 civil partnerships between same-sex couples took place last year compared with 116 in 2010.
The latest Census figures released by the CSO show a huge ‘marriage gap’ between the social classes with marriage being much stronger in middle class areas than in more disadvantaged areas. The new Census figures allow for analysis at the level of electoral districts and lower. They show, for example, in the electoral district of Ballymun D, 73 percent of children under 18 are being raised in lone parent families.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago (pictured), has come out in defence of fast food chain Chick-fil-A, after the company was condemned by the mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco because its owner supports traditional marriage. The owner of the chain, Mr Dan Cathy was asked about same-sex marriage and he reiterated his support for the traditional understanding of marriage. In response, the mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco condemned the fast food retailer. Chicago mayor, former chief of staff to President Obama, Rahm Emanuel, said that the chain's values “are not Chicago's values”.
The first Church-run secondary schools in over 20 years have been approved by Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn (pictured). Le Chéile Schools Trust, a Catholic organisation, will have responsibility for a school in Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, which is set to open in September 2014. The Department also announced that a new Church of Ireland school was to be established in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, which is also set to open in September 2014.
An Irish academic has called for male circumcision, which is a central religious practice in Judaism and Islam, to be banned, calling it “a gross breach of the bodily integrity of baby boys”. Writing in today's Irish Times, politics lecturer Dr Kenneth Houston says the practice is “barbaric” and termed it “male genital mutilation” (MGM). Dr Houston, who lecturers in Webster University in Thailand, welcomed the recent decision of a court in Germany which held that male circumcision amounted to bodily harm.
The British Court of Appeal has ruled that a mother who denied a father's access to his children for three years breached his rights. The court, made up of three judges, that it was not acceptable for the mother to block the father’s reasonable efforts to see his two daughters. The judges urged all separated parents to consider the harm that such legal disputes cause children. Lord Justice McFarlane said mothers and fathers had “a responsibility and a duty” to help children remain in touch with the other parent, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The Catholic Church in Scotland has described same-sex marriage as “a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale”. It was responding to the announcement by the Scottish Government that it is set to become the first part of Britain to legalise it. Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Deputy First Minister, today confirmed she will bring forward legislation but said it will include “important protections” for clergymen, teachers and parents who oppose the move.
Ireland should incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) into its law, so that it is directly applicable here, a new report on children's rights has said. The report of the special rapporteur on child protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon (pictured), while pointing out that Ireland has already signed and ratified the Convention, called the fact that Ireland had yet to incorporate the document as “disappointing”. The Convention is controversial because it gives children rights traditionally associated with adults such as freedom of association, religion and privacy.
The governor of the Austrian province of Vorarlberg has told hospitals there to suspend religiously motivated circumcisions. Last week, two hospitals in Switzerland, the Zurich University Children’s Hospital and the northern St Gall teaching hospital, also announced that they were delaying religious circumcision until further notice. Governor Marcus Wallner cited a recent ruling by a German regional court which held that the practice was the equivalent of causing criminal bodily harm, saying that he saw it as a "precedence-setting judgment," according to the Jewish Chronicle.
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