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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.
A quarter of women in the UK wish they had tried to start a family earlier, according to a new survey of women. The poll of more than 3,000 women aged 28 to 45 found 24pc regretted having waited so long, and 17 per cent were worried about being too old to conceive, the Daily Telegraph reports. In addition, almost one in 10 (nine per cent) had already resorted to fertility treatment because they had found it difficult to conceive naturally while 20pc wanted to have a child so much they said they would consider purposefully becoming a single mother, either through donor sperm or another route.
Christians should resign if their faith clashes with their work, lawyers for the UK government have told the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The lawyers were making the argument in a landmark case involving four employees who claim that they have been the victims of religious discrimination in the workplace. They said that the rights of the four individuals to religious freedom was not infringed because they could still practice their faith “in private”.
A father in the Canadian province of Ontario is seeking to have atheist tracts distributed to children in the province’s schools along with Gideon bibles. The bibles are only given to children with the permission of the parents. Rene Chouinard, a father of two school-age children and an active secularist said he didn't think that “10-year-old kids should be expected to make decisions on which theological concept is correct”.
A landmark case on religious freedom will be heard today at the European Court of Human Rights today as four workers challenge British judgements over their right to practice their religion in various ways. The British Government is opposing the four Christians who have taken the case. The four Christians include two workers forced out of their jobs after visibly wearing crosses, a Relate therapist sacked for saying he would not be comfortable giving sex counselling to homosexual couples, and a Christian registrar who does not wish to conduct civil partnership ceremonies for same-sex couples.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has conceded that the Church has the right to lobby politicians on abortion and other issues. Mr Gilmore was responding to journalists’ questions after his party colleague, Pat Rabbitte, told RTE last week that the Church should not ‘dictate’ to politicians and that this would be a retrograde step.
A notary in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo has recognised a three person civil union between a man and two women. It is uncertain whether the move will withstand a legal challenge. The notary in question, Claudia do Nascimento Domingues has said the three individuals should be entitled to family rights, the BBC reports.
Government policies in the UK aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies have failed to have any impact, according to a new study. The study looked at the teenage pregnancy figures between 1969 and 2009. It found that despite the millions of pounds spent in government initiatives over the last four decades pregnancy rates among teenaged girls aged 13-16, have remained steady, while abortion rates have gone up.
A former district court judge has said that he disagrees with the Government's plan to bring in a children's rights referendum. Retired judge Michael Patwell said that, while he had previously believed there was a need for the Constitutional amendment, he had changed his mind. He has himself dealt with many family law cases including ones that resulted in the removal of children from their parents.
A major row over the relationship between Church and State has erupted after Pat Rabbitte appeared to suggest that the Catholic Church should not be permitted to lobby politicians. Mr Rabbitte, who is Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, was responding after Cardinal Sean Brady told RTE that the Church was prepared to lobby politicians on the abortion issue.
The leading separatist party in the Canadian province of Quebec wants to everyone in the employ of the State from wearing or exposing ‘overt religious symbols’. In addition, the Parti Québécois (PQ) wants to introduce a secular charter aimed at removing religious symbols are removed from public institutions. PQ leader Pauline Marois said freedom of religion would be integrated in the charter.
A Christian couple who were sued by the powerful US lobby group the American Civil Liberties Union for standing up for their belief in traditional marriage have been forced to pay $30,000 in an out of court settlement. The ACLU sued the couple, Jim and Mary O’Reilly, because they refused to host a lesbian wedding reception in 2011. The couple, the owners of the Wildflower Inn in the state of Vermont, said they “wanted to end this ordeal and the threat that the litigation” posed to their business.
The Government's proposed children's rights referendum will be based on the wording proposed by an Oireachtas committee chaired by former Fianna Fáil TD, Mary O'Rourke. Speaking on Newstalk earlier today, the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald (pictured), said that Government officials were working to ensure that the wording is based on the principles outlined by that Committee. The O’Rourke wording has been previously criticised for being too imprecise on what it means by a child’s ‘best interests’ and the circumstances in which the State will be permitted to override the judgement of parents in this regard.
The head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien has set up a new body to support marriage and the family. The new Commission for Marriage and the Family will be led by a bishop and composed mostly of lay people. It will produce materials and organise events "which will support ordinary Catholic families in their daily lives".
Fianna Fáil has warned that the Government may not be able to rely on it support for its proposed children's rights referendum after spokesman for children Robert Troy said it is “totally unacceptable that the Government has allowed the summer to pass without publishing the wording of the referendum on children’s rights”. And he warned that while Fianna Fáil wanted to give its full support to the Government's referendum, it could not do so “blindly”.
Religion and spirituality are good for your mental health, say a new study which recommends that health care professionals take this into account in their treatment programmes. According to the study, published in the Journal of Religion and Health, regardless of which particular religion people belong to, faith can improve a person's well-being. The findings confirm earlier research showing that religion can provide significant health benefits for believers.
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).
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