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The Constitutional Convention is set to consider the issue of same-sex marriage this weekend. The Convention's 100 members, comprised of 33 politicians, 66 ordinary citizens, plus Chairman, Tom Arnold, will hear from opponents and supporters of same-sex marriage.
Ireland is the tenth best country in the world for children, according to a new report from a key UN agency. The report, Child Well-Being in Rich Countries, was produced by Unicef, the UN agency for children.
The conscience rights of vegetarians and ecologists in the workplace have been recognised in new UK equality guidelines, but not those of family lawyers who believe in the traditional family. Among other things, the guidelines suggest that ecologists could ask to be excused from duties that increase CO2 emissions, such as flying to business meetings.
Irish law must either ban surrogacy or regulate it, a leading child law expert has said. Geoffrey Shannon, the Government's Special Rapporteur on Child Protection said that the recent High Court decision which allowed an Irish couple to be recognised as the legal parents of two children born to a surrogate mother did not create legal certainty on the issue.
Conflicting accounts as to the sequence of events leading up to the death of Mrs Savita Halappanavar have emerged at an inquest into her death. Claims made by Mrs Halappanavar's husband Mr Halappanavar as to who was present and the time and place of certain events have been challenged by lawyers representing the HSE, the Irish Independent reports.
A presentation made by the U.S. Army which classified Catholics and Evangelical Christians as “extremist” religious groups alongside al Qaeda and the Ku Klux Klan has been criticised as “dishonorable” and “anti-religious” by groups representing army chaplains. The presentation detailed a number of extremist threats within the U.S. military, including white supremacist groups, street gangs, and religious sects.
More US couples are cohabiting than ever, according to new figures from the National Centre for Health Statistics. According to the data, almost half of US women are choosing cohabitation rather than marriage as their "first union".
The representative body for the medical profession in Ireland has rejected three motions calling for the legalisation of abortion under various circumstances. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) voted against a motion supporting regulation of abortion in line with the X Case and with Government legislative plans.
A new website which highlights the reasons why children are taken into State care by the HSE has been launched. It will be the first time that the reasons for HSE interventions will be revealed, as up until now, the in camera rule in family law cases has prevented this information from being revealed.
One in five teenagers is drinking at least once a week by the time they are in fifth year in school, new research suggests. “Significant bingeing" was evident at that stage, researchers said and the drinking patterns of boys and girls did not differ significantly, The Irish Independent reports.
Viewing of pornography among 14 year old boys is almost universal, unpublished research by Britian's children's watchdog suggests. The research by the Children's Commissioner into access to pornography found that every boy and half the girls in a year group of 14-year-olds in one school had watched pornography.
Amending the Constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry would involve the wholesale redefinition of the institution of marriage, not simply its extention, the Knights of Columbanus have said in their submission to the Constitutional Convention.
Just over one third of Irish people attend church at least once a week. Of these, nine percent attend more than once a week, according to a new survey. The research, conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes for the Sunday Times, also showed a further 10pc said they attended Mass once every two to three weeks, while another 10pc said they went once a month.
A Department of Education survey on school patronage in 38 areas has revealed only a “limited request for change”, the Council of Education of the Catholic bishops has said. Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has said that the survey showed “sufficient demand for change” and the Department has recommended that schools be transferred to new patrons from the Catholic Church in 23 separate areas.
Nearly half of all UK families have only one child, according to new official figures. The number of one-child families has increased by almost 700,000 in 15 years, and they are likely to be in the majority within a decade, the data suggests.
The Government is set to recognise the altered birth certs of people who have had their genders ‘reassigned’ overseas, but they are not yet changing the birth certs of people who have had their gender reassigned in Ireland. In addition, it will allow that person to marry a person of the ‘opposite’ sex.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has been attacked for suggesting that childcare costs will have to be taken into account in insolvency arrangements if the outlay exceeds income and is preventing parents from making mortgage repayments. The National Council of Women of Ireland described his remarks as “extremely anti-women and anti-children”.
The number of children and teenagers who died of unnatural causes while in the care of the HSE more than doubled last year. Figures supplied under the Freedom of Information Act show that 16 young people died in 2012, up from six in 2011, the Irish Examiner reports.
Health Minister James Reilly has said that the HSE is to review a website partly-funded by the state that gives young people information about group sex. The move comes amid reports that the site, SpunOut.ie, carries information which appears to encourage teenagers to participate in “threesomes”.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Paris on Sunday to protest government plans to legalise same-sex marriage. Organisers suggested that up to 1.4 million had attended, while police suggested that there were at least 300,000 at the march.
David Cameron has claimed that he will stand against the “aggressive secularisation” of British society. The Prime Minister promised Christians that his Government “cares about faith” despite clashes with religious groups over same-sex marriage, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Parents in the UK believe sex education should be taught in its “moral context” with an emphasis on marriage and the importance of the legal age of consent, according to a new Government report. Over half of respondents to an official consultation also said it was vital that sex and relationship classes promote self-respect and ensure children “value their own bodies,” the Daily Telegraph reports.
The Constitutional Convention received a late surge of submissions on the topic of same-sex marriage in the three days before the deadline expired. The Convention has said that over a thousand submissions were made in the final three days before Tuesday's deadline.
Most Britons favour allowing a form of gene therapy which would involve the birth of children with three genetic parents, according to a survey of public attitudes carried out by the UK's IVF watchdog. The consultation, carried out by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), showed widespread support for the therapy, designed to help women in danger of passing on mitochondrial disease to their babies.
The British Government has been accused of insulting stay-at-home mothers after Downing Street suggested that they will be excluded from receiving child care support because they do not want to “work hard and get on”. The Government announced that working parents earning up to £150,000 each will get up to £1,200 per annum to help with child care because they have a “greater need” than those who do not work.
Some parents could be hit with another reduction in Child Benefit payments in the next 18 months if the Department of Social Protection goes ahead with plans to implement a two-tier system aimed at saving up to €200m a year, the Irish Independent reports.
Governments should give more freedom to families to choose whether to care for their children themselves or to put them in childcare, a leading UK think tank has said. Civitas were responding to reports suggesting that the UK's Coalition Government was to increase support for childcare by up to £2,000 a year.
Labour has drafted a bill to legalise same-sex marriage with a view to holding a referendum this autumn. The move is being made in order to pressurise Labour's coalition partners Fine Gael into backing the proposal, the Sunday Times reports.
Scottish police are investigating the actions of a GP after he confessed to assisting the suicide of a number of patients. GP Dr Iain Kerr says he prescribed particular drugs and gave advice to some of his patients who wanted to end their own lives.
Efforts to insert a religious freedom clause into a civil union bill in Colorado were defeated last week with the bill's senate sponsor, Pat Steadman, telling those backing the clause, “Get thee to a nunnery and live there then. Go live a monastic life away from modern society, away from the people you can’t see as equal to yourself.”
The US state of Iowa is considering legislation to make divorces more difficult to obtain. A sub-committee of the state's lower house has approved a bill which would make it harder for couples to end their marriages if those marriages involve children.
One of the Catholic Church's leading spokesmen on education has said he has “serious problems” with the recent media coverage of a new Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) survey into religious education. Speaking to the Irish Catholic, Fr Michael Drumm, the head of the Catholic Schools Partnership has said that the suggestion made in media reports that only 49 per cent of primary schools teachers are willing to teach religion put forward by several media outlets is “completely false”.
The concept of equality is being misused in order to radically redefine the family, a leading Vatican official has said. Bishop Jean Laffitte, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, spoke to an audience at the Student Union Hall of St. Mary’s University College in Twickenham on “Marriage and the Family in a Culture of Relativism".
The Government is to take up a private members' Bill sponsored by Labour Senators and TDs aimed at curtailing the freedom of religious institutions to hire staff who will respect their ethos. The bill, which was debated in the Seanad yesterday, proposes to amend Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act.
A pioneer of the same-sex marriage movement has admitted that multi-partner marriage is the next logical step in the evolution of the institution of marriage. Boris Dittrich, a former Dutch MP sometimes called the father of the global campaign to legalise same-sex marriage, told a French online magazine, Yagg, that there was now a movement in the Netherlands to legalise polygamy.
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