NOM BLOG

Category Archives: Europe

Religious Leaders Flock to Rome for Interfaith Conference on Marriage

Rome, Italy – Hundreds of religious leaders and scholars visited the Vatican earlier this week for a momentous interfaith conference that celebrates the complementarity man and woman.

Pope Francis began the conference on Monday, but Deseret News reports that the gathering is significant for at least three other reasons:

It comes as thought leaders around the world increasingly recognize how a retreat from marriage is creating an unprecedented shock to social, cultural and economic institutions.

It highlights the powerful convening role of the Vatican for interfaith dialogue — a role it has cultivated since the Vatican II conference some 50 years ago.

And it marks the first time that leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will participate in a Vatican event with the pope.

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the LDS First Presidency, spoke to the conference on Tuesday. He was accompanied by Elder L. Tom Perry, a member of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric.

The conference, officially known as Humanum: An International Interreligious Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, will bring together presenters from 23 countries and 14 faith traditions, including Judaism, Sunni and Shi’ite Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism and Sikh, in an effort to strengthen the tradition of male-female marriage for "the good of the spouses themselves and for the good of all who depend upon them."

The presenters include what a blogger called "powerful media personalities," including Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the UK and philosopher; Rick Warren, senior pastor at Saddleback Church in California and author of the best-seller "The Purpose-Driven Life"; and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Hundreds of other observers will attend, including two Utahns, acting Sutherland Institute CEO Stanford Swim and BYU family law professor Lynn Wardle, as well as Princeton professor Robert P. George, co-author of “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”

The international and interreligious conference is an effort to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life in light of the rise of what some scholars call post-familialism.

ICYMI: Slovakia Amends Constitution to Protect Marriage

SlovakiaThe Slovakia National Council voted June 4 to define marriage as the unique bond between one man and one woman in its Constitution. The amendment states, "it will be impossible for the rights and duties associated with marriage to be conferred in any way other than a legally recognised union between a man and a woman."

One hundred and two lawmakers supported the marriage amendment and 18 voted against it.

This should put to rest some of the silly claims that we've lost the marriage fight in the United States and abroad.  Slovakia's newest Constitutional amendment is evidence of the support that marriage enjoys.

Croatian voters similarly protected the definition of marriage back in 2013.

"Victory for Pro-Life, Pro-Family Catholics and Other Christians"

From Aleteia, more on the recent marriage victory in Europe:

...the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) lowered the boom on European progressives. And, the wind was taken out of the sails of American liberalism.

[...]

FamilyMoreover, whereas U.S.-based agitators for same-sex marriage have pulled off their boldest accomplishments through the judicial usurpation of politics, the European high court has challenged that angle of approach. In its ruling, it declared that no member nation can be forced to accept same-sex marriage. At least at the European level, the question about the legalization of same-sex marriage must remain a democratic or political question.

[...]

The European court's claim flies in the face of pro-same-sex marriage legal arguments so often heard here in the U.S. Those arguments object that civil unions that are not converted to state-recognized marriages impose a second-class legal status on homosexuals. Europe's court disagreed.

Read the rest here.

Human Rights Court Says Europe Cannot Be Forced to Redefine Marriage

Amid their constant claims of victory and incessant harping on about the inevitability of same-sex "marriage," supporters of redefining marriage received a major setback recently.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Wednesday that the refusal to recognize same-sex “marriages” does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

As reported by the National Catholic Register:

In a July 16 ruling, the human rights court explained that while “some Contracting States have extended marriage to same-sex partners,” European laws establishing the right of men and women to freely marry “cannot be construed as imposing an obligation on the Contracting States to grant access to marriage to same-sex couples."

[...]

the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found that Finland’s refusal to recognize same-sex unions does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

While the convention establishes the ability “to marry and have a family” as a right, the court stated that the document cannot be interpreted as requiring marriage to be defined in a way that includes same-sex couples.

The European Convention on Human Rights, the court explained, “enshrines the traditional concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman.”

The court also noted that applicants cannot claim “that there exists any European consensus on allowing same-sex marriages,” given that only 10 member states of the European Union recognize such unions, and the majority of countries recognize marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The push to redefine marriage is hardly making international progress.  The true definition of marriage enjoys broad support in many different countries.

Macedonia's parliament is considering a proposed constitutional amendment to protect marriage from being redefined.  Last year, the citizens of Croatia voted to preserve marriage.  Just earlier this week, the prime minister of the island nation of Dominica asserted that his country "will not accept" the redefinition of marriage.  The push for "gender-neutral" marriage in Finland has been halted.  And one million people flooded the streets of Paris in support of marriage.

This important victory in Europe demonstrates that although the battle to protect marriage is far from over, it certainly is not a hopeless cause, especially around the globe!

Gay Marriage is a Vote Loser

In England, a recent report showed that nearly two-thirds of MP's believe that supporting gay 'marriage' is a 'vote loser.' And reports from local Conservative associations show a rapid decline in membership, with gay marriage seen as one of the reasons. Now even the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is saying that he regrets "forcing" marriage redefinition through the Parliament.

Thumbs DownThe same can be said in America.  Despite the droning drumbeat of the mainstream media, nearly two-thirds – 65 percent – of Americans disapprove of redefining marriage.

During the November 2012 elections, true marriage out-polled the Romney campaign in all four states marriage was on the ballot – by double digit margins!

It seems English politicians have already learned what the GOP in America – and all its candidates – need to grasp.  Defending marriage as one man and one woman is a winning issue at the polls.

England’s Prime Minister Jubilant Over Possible New Top “Export”

Cameron_Gay_British_FlagBritish Prime Minister David Cameron is apparently not content with having spearheaded the passage of same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom; he now wants to spread it across the globe! In a recent speech, Cameron said, “I want to export gay marriage around the world…as you know, I talk about the global race, about how we’ve got to export more and sell more so I’m going to export the bill team. I think they can be part of this global race and take it around the world.”

The Telegraph points out that the ebullient Cameron four times stated his pride in the legislation’s passage during his talk, saying on one occasion: “I’m personally proud of this. I think I’m probably the only Conservative Prime Minister who’s taken this step, but I’m very proud to have taken it.”

You can read about Cameron’s grandiose plan for global marriage redefinition here.

God Save the Queen? Queen Elizabeth Gives “Royal Assent” to SSM in England, Wales

The Washington Post reports that Queen Elizabeth II has given “royal assent” to a same-sex marriage bill that has recently passed in both of Great Britain’s legislative houses. This assent comes despite the fact that the Queen is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, which opposes same-sex marriage.

ssm_bus_englandThe bill had the full support of Prime Minister David Cameron, despite strong opposition by his Conservative Party. Cameron’s support appears to have come at a high political price with the article noting that, “some political commentators predict Cameron’s gay-friendly attitudes will cost him at the next election in 2015.”

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales also fought the bill and quickly condemned its passage: “With this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central. That is why we were opposed to this legislation on principle.”

You can read the rest of this article here.

New Danish Study of 6.5 Million: Health Benefits of Marriage are Unique to Male-Female Unions

A new study in the Journal of Epidemiology followed 6.5 million Danish persons for nearly 30 years (for a total of 112.5 million person-years) looking at how living arrangements (being single, cohabiting, married, widowed or in a same-sex union) affected their health outcomes.

IJEFrom the official abstract:

"[Hazard Ratios] for overall mortality changed markedly over time, most notably for persons in same-sex marriage. In 2000–2011, opposite-sex married persons (reference, HR = 1) had consistently lower mortality than persons in other marital status categories in women (HRs 1.37–1.89) and men (HRs 1.37–1.66). Mortality was particularly high for same-sex married women (HR = 1.89), notably from suicide (HR = 6.40) and cancer (HR = 1.62), whereas rates for same-sex married men (HR = 1.38) were equal to or lower than those for unmarried, divorced and widowed men. Prior marriages (whether opposite-sex or same-sex) were associated with increased mortality in both women and men (HR = 1.16–1.45 per additional prior marriage)."

The conclusion of the authors:

"Our study provides a detailed account of living arrangements and their associations with mortality over three decades, thus yielding accurate and statistically powerful analyses of public health relevance to countries with marriage and cohabitation patterns comparable to Denmark’s. Of note, mortality among same-sex married men has declined markedly since the mid-1990s and is now at or below that of unmarried, divorced and widowed men, whereas same-sex married women emerge as the group of women with highest and, in recent years, even further increasing mortality."

Commentary from the English Manif blog:

"During 2000 to 2011, Danish male-female married couples were the healthiest and least likely to die at various ages compared with individuals who were unmarried, divorced or widowed. In contrast, same-sex married men in Denmark were no healthier than unmarried men. Same-sex married women had much higher mortality rates than other women, including the ones who were unmarried, divorced or widowed. There was no apparent marriage “benefit” in terms of better health or longer life for these same-sex married women.

While this is just one study that needs to be supplemented by more research, it does suggest that the health benefits of marriage may be unique to the male-female union. Governments may try to legislate a revised version of “marriage,” but they cannot legislate the health and longevity benefits that come from a man marrying a woman."

Marriage Redefinition Fails in Northern Ireland

From the Belfast Telegraph:

Unionists voted down a motion at Stormont's Assembly which called on the power-sharing ministerial Executive to legislate.

[...] DUP Finance Minister Sammy Wilson defended his party's veto and said colleagues would use it again to defeat "reckless" legislation.

Congrats to the brave DUP for standing up for families and the rights of children.


Finland Rejects Bill to Make Marriage Gender-Neutral

Even in some northern Europe countries, efforts to redefine marriage can't get out of committee:

The Finnish parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted narrowly to reject a bill to legalise equal marriage.

The bill, proposed by the National Coalition Party (NCP) minister Alexander Stubb proposed the bill, which would have made marriage gender-neutral, therefore allowing same-sex couples to marry.

It was rejected 9 votes to 8, and so it will not go before the full legislature for consideration.

The bill would have made regulations relating to marriage equal for all, irrespective of the gender of the partners. In Finland, gay and lesbian couples can currently register their partnerships, but do not automatically take each others’ surnames, or adopt children, reports YLE. (PinkNews)

Italian Bishop Confined to Home by Gay Marriage Demonstration

CWN:

An Italian archbishop has revealed that he was confined to his home, forced to remain inside his “besieged” residence, when homosexual activists staged a protest there earlier this month, and warned that gay-rights campaigners aim to prosecute all who oppose their agenda.

... Archbishop Crepaldi said that the protest was organized against him because of “the false and very grave accusation of being intolerant and racist.” He said that gay-rights activists are determined to gain approval for same-sex marriage, and toward that end will accuse all opponents of “homophobia.”

The archbishop warned that the goal of the demonstrators was to define “homophobia” as a crime, in order for “those who say publicly--as the Catholic Church has always done--that the real family is only that founded on marriage between a man and a woman, to be declared homophobic, intolerant, racist, and therefore, subject to criminal prosecution.”

Video: European Court of Human Rights Cases Discussed on BBC News

The BBC reviews the decisions made in the cases of four Christians, three of whom lost their bids to defend their conscience rights:

Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre says at one point: "... in the case of Lillian Ladele, [there was never] any refusal of a service to any homosexual couple. So I think here we have to really get a sense of perspective on what is happening, what have the English courts said? They've said this: your freedom to manifest your faith is your freedom to resign. Well of course that's no freedom at all."

Italy's Prime Minister Says No to Gay Marriage

GayStarNews:

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti, who is running for re-election in February, has rejected same-sex marriage.

Interviewed by SkyTg 24, Monti explained: ‘I think that a family is only made of a man and a woman. Children should grow with a father and a mother.’

But he indicated he was in favor of giving same-sex partners some of the rights and responsibilities of married heterosexuals.

‘A parliament could find good solutions for civil partnerships or civil unions. But we can not call them “families”,’ he said.

BCN: Nearly One Million March for Marriage in Paris

Actually, event organizers peg the attendance at over 1,000,000:

World Congress of Families (WCF) hailed Sunday's march for traditional, natural marriage in Paris. WCF Managing Director Larry Jacobs commented: "Hundreds of thousands marched in Paris yesterday, in bitterly cold temperatures, to oppose plans by President Francois Hollande to force a bill legalizing so-called same-sex marriage through the parliament. Yesterday's march, supported by the French Catholic hierarchy, was an impassioned outpouring in defense of marriage, children, and the natural family. It demonstrates, once again, that the push for 'same-sex marriage' is driven by elites and rejected by the overwhelming majority of families worldwide."

...Jacobs concluded: "We congratulate the organizers of the Paris march and declare our solidarity with efforts to defend natural marriage in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and wherever such efforts are underway. Just as the campaign to undermine marriage . . . is international in scope, the defense of natural marriage must stretch across national boundaries to embrace families everywhere." (Breaking Christian News)

European Court of Human Rights Dismisses Case of British Christian Who Wished to Opt Out of Administering S-S Civil Partnerships

A defeat for the rights of a Christian, Lillian Ladele, who lives in Britain, and her case now sets a precedent for other European countries:

"...cases [heard by the European Court of Human Rights] involved nurse Shirley Chaplin, 57, whose employer also stopped her wearing necklaces with a cross, Gary McFarlane, 51, a marriage counsellor sacked after saying he might object to giving sex therapy advice to gay couples, and registrar Lillian Ladele who was disciplined after she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies."

... Ms Ladele was disciplined by Islington Council, in north London, after saying she did not want to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies. Her lawyers said the service could have been performed by other employees who were prepared to carry them out.

ECHR judges said the council's action was legitimate as it was obliged to consider the rights of same-sex couples.

Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, which backed Ms Ladele's case, said: "What this case shows is that Christians with traditional beliefs about marriage are at risk of being left out in the cold." (BBC)