JUSTICE MINISTER ALAN Shatter has, today, published the General Scheme of the long-anticipated Children and Family Relationships Bill.
The proposed legislation, which would clarify the legal status of children in in civil partnerships, surrogacy arrangements and assisted human reproduction, will now go forward for discussion at Oireachtas committee level.
The new laws will allow civil partners to jointly adopt a child for the first time.According to the Minister, this measure “removes the current anomaly where single lesbian and gay individuals can adopt children, but civil partners cannot jointly adopt”.
Today’s law relating to adoption provides for the adoption of children by married couples and by single persons (irrespective of their sexual orientation), but not jointly by civil partners.
Shatter has asked the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality – in conjunction with members of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children – to undertake a consultation process on his proposals for the Bill.
The cross-party TDs and Senators will have until Easter to furnish any observations to his department before the outlined proposals which, according to the Minister, “seek to put in place a modern legal architecture to underpin family situations”.
A new review of research by the Australian Government’s Institute of Family Studies has found that kids who are being brought up in families headed by gays and lesbians do as well as their heterosexually parented peers
24 JANUARY 2014 | BY ANDREW POTTS
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has released a report on the well being of children raised by gays and lesbians and found they did just as well as those raised by heterosexual men and women.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies is the Australian Government’s key research body in the area of family well being and provides an evidence base for developing policy supportive of the well being of families in Australia.
The report was authored by Dr Deborah Dempsey – a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the Faculty of Life and Social Sciences at Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology.
‘Research to date considerably challenges the point of view that same-sex parented families are harmful to children,’ the report found.
‘Children in such families do as well emotionally, socially and educationally as their peers from heterosexual couple families.’
‘Some researchers have concluded there are benefits for children raised by lesbian couples in that they experience higher quality parenting, sons display greater gender flexibility, and sons and daughters display more open-mindedness towards sexual, gender and family diversity,’ the report found.
At the same time court rejects gay adoption in case where neither man proved biological connection to child.
Man with baby born to surrogate mother. Photo: REUTERS
The High Court of Justice on Tuesday night, by a split 5-2 vote, ordered the state to recognize the gay adoption of a child born through surrogacy, including registering both the biological father and his partner as fathers of the child. Simultaneously, the High Court rejected 7-0 the request of another gay couple for recognition of their right to gay adoption. Related: Health Ministry advocates allowing gay couples to use surrogate mothers Both gay couples based their claim on a birth certificate and declaration from the US that they are the child’s parents. The difference between the two cases is that the court granted the request from the gay couple after it underwent genetic testing to prove the biological connection to at least one of the men, while the couple whose request was denied did not do genetic testing.
The Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and the Family, which will be taking place later this year, was never intended to produce doctrinal change. Many events, however, have unintended consequences. Pope Francis’ revolution in the Catholic Church has often been compared to Vatican II, but at the outset, nobody really expected the extent of the transformation it achieved. The synod will not directly produce any change in doctrine, but it is being preceded by an extensive global consultation on how the Church as a whole understands and accepts those doctrines. If anyone really doubts that the conference will not be forced at least to consider the urgent need for doctrinal change, they should pay close attention to the many reports now emerging on the responses to that consultation – and especially to the responses of the experts, the professional moral theologians. National Catholic Reporter has some commentary on responses from some German theologians:
German theologians critique church teachings, propose new sexual understanding
Two groups of noted German theologians have bluntly outlined how church teaching does not align with the concerns or lifestyles of most European Catholics in response to a Vatican questionnaire on Catholics’ attitudes on issues like contraception and same-sex marriage.
Church sexual teachings, say the representatives of the Association of German Moral Theologians and the Conference of German-speaking Pastoral Theologians, come from an “idealized reality” and need a “fundamental, new evaluation.”
“It becomes painfully obvious that the Christian moral teaching that limits sexuality to the context of marriage cannot look closely enough at the many forms of sexuality outside of marriage,” say the 17 signers of the response, who include some of Germany’s most respected Catholic academics.
The theologians also propose that the church adopt a whole new paradigm for its sexual teachings, based not on moral evaluations of individual sex acts but on the fragility of marriage and the vulnerability people experience in their sexuality.
The theologians are responding to a Vatican request last October that bishops worldwide prepare for a 2014 global meeting of Catholic prelates by distributing a questionnaire on family topics “as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received.”
In December 2013, Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. Huffington Post reports on a similar case, and other Methodist pastors who are defying church regulations, by conducting same – sex church weddings, or by living openly with a same – sex partner.
Rev. Thomas Ogletree, Another Methodist Pastor, To Be Tried For Presiding At Same Sex Wedding Of Son
The United Methodist Church has formally charged another clergyman for presiding at the same-sex wedding of his son.
The Rev. Thomas Ogletree will be tried March 10 for violating church law against officiating at gay unions, his spokeswoman, Dorothee Benz, announced Friday. It’s the second high-profile United Methodist trial in recent months over same-sex relationships. In December, pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. The church considers homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Ogletree is a theologian, a former Yale Divinity School dean and a retired elder in the church’s New York district, or Annual Conference. Some clergy had filed a complaint after his son’s 2012 wedding announcement appeared in The New York Times.
Ogletree, 80, said he could not refuse his son’s request to preside at the wedding, which was held in New York, where gay marriage is legally recognized.
At Bilgrimage, Bill Lindsey reflects on the German theologians’ response to the global consultation, in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and the Family
German Moral and Pastoral Theologians Respond to Pope Francis’s Questions about Sexual Morality and Family: Time for Significant Change
What strikes me as I read the statement is that it depends on a distinction that Catholic moral theologians (and Catholic theologians in general) have been making for a long time now: the magisterium offers Catholics an “idealized” understanding of human sexuality that does not take into account the experience of lay Catholics to whom this idealized teaching is handed down. Magisterial teaching on sexual ethics is very conspicuously not “received” by lay Catholics–particularly, as the document points out, regarding the issue of contraception.
The gap between the idealized, acts-centered, non-experience-based sexual ethical teaching handed down by the magisterium and the experience-based understanding of human sexuality lived by lay Catholics in their lives of graced discipleship continues to grow (see: issue of same-sex marriage), and the gap is becoming insupportable.
The German theologians call for an understanding of sexual ethics that continues to enshrine the ideals to which magisterial teaching points, but corrects the idealized, acts-centered, non-experience-based teaching of the magisterium by incorporating dimensions of care (a “pallial” dimension), emancipation, and reflectivity:
Research shows that gay relationships are “happier and more positive” than straight ones.
The popular perception that gay relationships don’t last is not surprising, but it’s a myth. We all know that same – sex relationships face difficulties not encountered by our opposite – sex counterparts, arising from some measure of public disapproval, hostility or active discrimination or even violence, and from the greater difficulties in arranging the emotional and legal support of family and community in marriage ceremonies and contracts. So the misperception that our relationships are fragile, and the companion allegation often heard from our opponents that gay men are doomed to unhappiness, is not surprising – but is contradicted by the evidence.
The latest study to show this result comes from the UK Open University, widely reported this week in the British press. This research, based on a survey of 5000 people, including in-depth follow – up interviews with 50 of the participants, examined much more than just the sexuality of the couples, which explains the headline of the report in the Independent:
The key to a happy relationship? Be gay. Or childless. Or make tea
Gay couples are likely to be happier and more positive about their relationships than heterosexuals, according to a major study by the Open University published today
However, they are less likely to be openly affectionate towards each other – holding hands in public, for instance – because they still fear attracting disapproval.
The study of 5,000 people – 50 of whom were later followed up with in-depth interviews – aimed at finding out how modern couples keep their relationships on track through life’s difficulties.
It found that simple things – like making a cup of tea in the morning and taking it up to them in bed – were the most treasured by couples as examples of intimacy rather than more dramatic gestures such as declaring “I love you”.
It was on the relative happiness of people within different types of relationships that the survey threw up the most interesting insights into modern day life, however.
“LGBQ participants (lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer) are more generally positive about and happier with the quality of their relationship and the relationship which they have with their partner” the research concludes.
“Heterosexual parents are the group least likely to be there for each other, to make ‘couple time’, to pursue shared interests, to say ‘I love you’ and to talk openly to one another.”
Let us never forget, that in Catholic (and other) theology, it is not the priest or minister that administers the sacrament of matrimony, but the two spouses, who administer it to each other, in the sight of God and the community. It is also not the state that makes a marriage, but the mutual commitment of the spouses: all that the state does, is recognize and register the marriage. Informal, unregistered marriages are common in many parts of Africa,
This lesbian wedding in Uganda is thus as valid as any other unregistered marriage – even if it will garner direct opposition and possible prosecution from the law, instead of the approval it deserves.
Lesbian wedding held in Uganda day after anti-gay bill passed
Kenyan activist reports a lesbian wedding the day after Ugandan parliament passes bill threatening life imprisonment for gay people
22 DECEMBER 2013 | BY ANNA LEACH
A brave lesbian couple in Uganda has held a wedding a day after parliament passed a bill that threatens gay people with life in prison if caught expressing their sexuality.
Kenya gay rights activist Denis Nzioka tweeted a photograph of a celebrant and two women in wedding garb and said that Ugandan activist Kasha Jacqueline had attended the marriage. ‘This is what I call guts,’ he said.
A United Methodist minister who was suspended for officiating at his son’s gay marriage said on Monday he will not voluntarily surrender his religious credentials even though he cannot uphold his church’s doctrines on issues relating to same-sex marriage.