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Time: An Australian political party has put forward a bill that would make same-sex marriage legal down under.
Law and Religion Australia: My previous post mentioned that some books used in Special Religious Education (SRE) in NSW had been summarily banned by the Department of Education and Communities, apparently on the grounds that they conveyed classical Christian teaching about sexual morality.
The Conversation: All Australian anti-discrimination laws provide for some exemptions. Among the most controversial are those granted to religious schools.
The Washington Post: The pregnant Jehovah’s Witness came to a Sydney hospital with leukemia and a directive against blood transfusions, a decision stemming from her religious beliefs.
Law and Religion Australia: For many people in Australia the “battle” over recognition of same sex marriage seems, in popular opinion at least, completely over. Tim Dick in the Sydney Morning Herald on 1 March tells us that the “public argument is won” and we are now just up to the stage of deciding whether or not to allow “latecomers” to join the party. We are often told that those who do not support extending the legal status of “marriage” to unions involving same sex couples are on the “wrong side of history”. Their stance is often characterised as “homophobia”, a word which has in common parlance (despite its etymology) nothing to do with “fear” and everything to do with an irrational hatred of, and desire to harm, homosexual persons.
Financial Review: A woman has lost a bid for compensation after she was sacked by a Catholic Church social services organisation for having too many sexual partners.
Religion Clause: In Bunning v Centacare, (FCCA, Feb. 11, 2015), an Australian Federal Circuit Court judge dismissed a sexual orientation discrimination complaint filed against a Catholic social service agency by former employee Susan Bunning.
The Daily Telegraph: Australia is a deeply pragmatic country. We care about human rights, but not in isolation. We expect others to exercise responsibility as a precondition of having rights. To gain public legitimacy the freedom to exercise rights has to be nested with fairness and justice.
The Sydney Morning Herald: A woman has lost a bid for compensation after she was sacked by a Catholic Church social services organisation for having too many sexual partners.
Law and Religion Australia: Since today is Australia Day, it seems like an appropriate occasion to make some comments about freedom of religion in Australia!
Law and Religion Australia: The recent decision of the US Supreme Court to grant “certiorari” (leave to appeal) in a same sex marriage case has brought the matter back to attention in the US. The topic is one with many connections to law and religion, and I thought it was worthwhile to compare the current state of play in the US with the situation in Australia.
Christian News Network: A number of Australians are calling for the Bible to banned in two popular retail outlets after they became upset that a controversial video game will not be on the shelves anytime soon.
National Review: Australian Greens senator Larissa Waters is throwing her support behind a campaign against “gendered” toys this Christmas, claiming they perpetuate stereotypes that have horrible consequences, including domestic violence.
Lozier Institute: Last week, an assisted suicide organization in Switzerland named Exit made the news with a report of an anomalous growth in membership. According to its vice president, a record number of about 60 to 100 new applicants poured in daily this July and August, instead of the expected lag in applications due to summer travel. All told, Exit’s members amount to about 75,000. Among these, 459 chose to end their lives last year with the organization, which provides the lethal drugs. According to the report, this frightening number exceeds the previous year by about 100.
National Review: Surrogacy and IVF has objectified procreation. Now, it can be about not just having a baby to unconditionally love, but about ordering a baby that meets specifications.
Thai surrogate mother claims Australian couple demanded late term twin abortion after learning one had down syndrome
The Christian Post: The Thai surrogate mother who carried twins for an Australian couple claims she refused their alleged requests for a late-term abortion.
3AW: Jewish students are allegedly being assaulted and refused entry into lectures at universities around Melbourne.
The Sydney Morning Herald: Parliament is heading for a historic vote on same-sex marriage in which all MPs will be free to vote according to their conscience.
The Sydney Morning Herald: Support among Australians for same-sex marriage and for a conscience vote in the Coalition has reached an all-time high, according to a survey by the Liberal Party’s own pollster.
Christian News Network: A judge in southeastern Australia has been partially suspended after he declared that the culture’s acceptance of homosexuality will lead to a normalization of incest.
The Christian Institute: Australian parents who resisted pressure to abort their conjoined twins have spoken of their love for their children, after doctors managed to successfully deliver the babies earlier this month.
ABC: “A Christian organisation has lost an appeal against a finding that it was discriminatory towards a central Victorian suicide prevention group for young gay people. The Court of Appeal has ruled Christian Youth Camps (CYC) breached Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.”
AFP: “Australia’s highest court on Wednesday recognised the existence of a third ‘non-specific’ gender that is neither male nor female, in a landmark ruling campaigners said will help end years of discrimination.”
The Canberra Times: “Same-sex couples will be able to use British laws to marry in Australian cities from June, after the Abbott Government told Britain it had no objection. The move has been hailed by marriage equality advocates as a sign of how far the nation has come on the issue since 2010, when then Attorney-General Robert McClelland prevented Portugal from solemnising same-sex marriages in its diplomatic posts in Australia after the nation legalised same-sex marriage.”
Sydney Morning Herald: “A volunteer religious instructor at a Mitcham primary school has come under fire from an activist group about a blog post labelled as offensive to homosexuals and minorities. Karen Dobby, an Access Ministries volunteer religious instructor at Antonio Park Primary School, is listed as an Australian Christians candidate on the party’s website.”
The Border Mail: “ALBURY Council has been called on to stop “sitting on its hands” and instead back efforts to end protests outside an Albury abortion clinic. Dr Pieter Mourik yesterday counted more than 5500 signatures on a petition that will now go before the council on Monday night.”
Herald Sun: “CRANBOURNE SOUTH Primary School principal Joe Kelly has strongly defended his decision not to allow State Government-approved Christian religious instruction sessions to be provided to his students.”
The Age: “Hundreds of primary school principals have stopped offering weekly religious education in schools, despite a department requirement to offer the classes.”
The West Australian: “The balance-of-power MP told the ABC’s 7.30 program Victorian doctors who do not wish to perform abortions should not be required to refer patients to one who would.”
Religion Clause Blog: In Commonwealth of Australia v. Australian Capital Territory, (Australia High Ct., Dec. 12, 2013), Australia’s highest court invalidated the Australian Capital Territory’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 as inconsistent with federal law. As summarized by the High Court’s press release . . .
BBC: Australia’s High Court has overturned legislation allowing gay marriage in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
AP: But Australia’s first gay marriages could be short lived, with the High Court to rule Thursday on a federal government challenge to the validity of the Australian Capital Territory law.
Wesley J. Smith at LifeSiteNews: How noxious is Nitschke? Just read Kathryn Jean Lopez’s interview with him from more than ten years ago, in which he said that suicide pills should be sold in supermarkets and available to “troubled teens.”
AP: A sweeping child pornography investigation has led to the rescue of 386 children around the world and the arrest of 348 people, Canadian police said Thursday.
News.com.au: IT looks like a typical Sunday morning at any megachurch, except there’s one thing missing – God. Sunday Assembly, Britain’s atheist church, is a gathering for the non-believers and it’s making its way to Australia.
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart stands by confessional despite abuse recommendations | ABC.net.au Video
ABC.net.au (includes video): The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne has stood by the church’s stance on keeping information on abuse gained through the confessional secret, despite a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry recommending withholding information relating to child abuse be criminalised.
The Guardian: Chief justice says states will be interested whether the Commonwealth has sole powers to regulate marriage
AP: The Australian War Memorial has reversed a contentious decision to remove “known unto God” from the Tomb of the Australian Unknown Soldier after a public and political outcry.
AP: Provincial lawmakers for the territory that includes Australia’s capital voted Tuesday to allow same-sex marriage, a first for the country, but the federal government says it will try to stop gay weddings from happening.
9News: ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says people around the country will be watching as the territory considers historic legislation to legalise gay marriage.
AP: By the time the ambulance showed up to the house, the old woman’s screams were, as the paramedics would later tell it, already at a 10 out of 10.
LifeSiteNews: The Tasmanian euthanasia and assisted suicide bill was narrowly defeated this evening in Tasmania by a margin of 13:11 votes in a parliamentary marathon that came right down to the wire. The bill was co-sponsored by Labor Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim.
Gay Star News: Openly lesbian Australian Labor Party senator Penny Wong has been re-elected to lead her party in the Senate while in Opposition following a leadership contest for the party between two supporters of same-sex marriage.
LifeNews: Pro-life advocates and a member of Parliament at the Australia March for Life were assaulted by thousands of pro-abortion activists over the weekend.
Bloomberg: The Australian government will mount a High Court challenge against a bid to legalize same-sex marriage in a territory that encompasses the capital Canberra, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
Australian doctor could be struck off after refusing to carry out abortion on woman who didn’t want to have a girl
Daily Mail: An Australian doctor could be struck off for refusing to abort a baby girl because the child’s parents only wanted to have a boy.
LifeNews: 9News National in Melbourne, Australia, reported this morning that Dr. Mark Hobart has been under investigation for months after refusing parents’ request to abort their daughter. The couple reportedly sought an abortion because they had discovered that they were pregnant with a girl. Despite the investigation, Dr. Hobart defended his decision. “The pregnancy was well advanced, and I refused to refer the patient because there was no medical reason to do it.”
BuzzFeed: John Berry, the new U.S. ambassador to Australia, was formally welcomed to the country by Governor-General Quentin Bryce on Wednesday at a ceremony attended by both of their husbands. Berry is the first out gay ambassador to a G20 country, and he and his husband arrive in Australia in the wake of the marriage equality candidate losing in the national elections.
Wesley J. Smith at LifeNews: Medicine is becoming a one-way street. If a patient wants to refuse treatment in order to die–sacrosanct! That’s fine. But it should work both ways. Nope. Increasingly, if a patient wants treatment to extend life–not your call!
The Guardian: The prime minister, Tony Abbott, has asked for legal advice to see “precisely how far the ACT can go” with its new bill to legalise same sex marriage.
ABC.Net.AU: But Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner is suggesting the Archbishop’s position on women as alter servers may not comply with the Act . . . “There’s a defence that says a religious institution can discriminate on the basis of gender if it’s required by the doctrines of the religion,” Ms Banks said. “It gets down to the question of is it consistent with the doctrines of the religion to exclude people on the basis of gender. If it’s not then the exception wouldn’t apply.”
The Guardian: The Australian Capital Territory government is set to legalise same-sex marriage by the end of the year and chief minister Katy Gallagher told Guardian Australia that she doesn’t expect the federal Coalition government to overturn the legislation.
The Australian: The prime minister-elect faces an immediate test on marriage equality, after the ACT Labor government announced on Thursday that it would introduce legislation to legalise gay marriage in the next sitting of parliament.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): After all, Mr. Abbott is skeptical about alarmist claims of man-made global warming. He is a former Catholic seminarian who opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. His gaffes—he recently said a female parliamentary candidate had “sex appeal”—have provided fodder for left-leaning satirists. He is an Anglophile, a former Oxford boxing blue, and an unashamed constitutional monarchist who sides with America in the world.
Christian Newswire: Dr. David Phillips, National President of Family Voice Australia, said the following day, “One of the reasons for such a clear defeat was Labor’s change of mind and support for same-sex marriage.” Kevin Rudd promised to legislate for homosexual ‘marriage’ within one hundred days of being re-elected.
Australian PM Aggressively Advocates Marriage Redefinition, Twists Bible in Diatribe Aimed at Pastor | Video
BBC: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has delivered a strong defence of gay marriage on live television, days before the 7 September election.
The Age: The pentecostal Christian school chosen by Tony Abbott as the site of his education policy launch has decided to review its policy declaring homosexuality an abomination just hours after the Coalition visit.
Brisbane Times: A federal election candidate in western Queensland has accused Muslims of paying Aborigines to convert to Islam.
Bioedge: The Dalgettys are an extreme case, but natural conception after an IVF birth is not uncommon, according to Australian research published in published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. One in three women who have their first baby through infertility treatment, become pregnant again naturally within two years of their first birth.
LifeNews: You’ve got to give Dr Philip Nitschke some credit for telling it like it really is. Whilst Australia’s state-based euthanasia lobby groups and their state-based MP supporters argue for limited legislation with so-called safeguards, Nitschke has consistently advocated for legalisation of euthanasia in a virtually unrestricted fashion – save only for the exclusion of minors and people with mental incapacity.
World Magazine: In conjunction with the massacre, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video announcing the group will target the United States, France, and other countries who do not abide by the teachings of the Quran.
The Australian: Federal Labor has blasted Tony Abbott for describing the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage as the “fashion of the moment”.
Guardian: Labor is hoping to use social media and the digital world to build momentum for change on gay marriage and force Tony Abbott into allowing a conscience vote on the issue.
Australian: Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, a sociologist and co-author of the paper, which was presented at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in New York, said: “With siblings, you’re having to manage friendships. You’re having to navigate ups and downs with other people, and get along with someone who is not necessarily like you.”
Guardian: In Sunday night’s debate the prime minister, Kevin Rudd, announced that a re-elected Labor government would introduce a same sex marriage bill in its first 100 days of governing.
TheAge.com.au: Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi says he has been “proved correct” that legalising same-sex marriage would lead to demands to endorse polygamy.
France24.com: The Australian government has announced new guidelines on gender recognition which state that individuals should be given the option of selecting “male”, “female” or “intersex” on their personal documents.
Family Research Council: Regnerus responded to the reports out of Australia, criticizing it for its methodological weaknesses. Unlike Regnerus’s survey, the Australian authors refused to use a random sample and instead recruited participants at local gay and lesbian groups.
The Age: That is the initial finding from the world’s largest study on the children of same-sex parents, under way at Melbourne University.
Middle East Forum: This is the second in a four part series of posts written in response to Geert Wilders’ visit to Australia in early 2013. In a previous post I contrasted Geert Wilders’ view that ‘Islam is the problem’ with the claims of many Muslims who preach with equal conviction that ‘Islam is the solution’, and examined evidence of the negative characteristics associated with belief in Islam, including disadvantaged human development outcomes.
Religion Clause Blog: In Thaler v. Amzalak, (NSW Sup. Ct., May 27, 2013), the Supreme Court of the Australian state of New South Wales set aside an award by a Bet Din (Jewish religious court) in a commercial dispute.
LifeNews: A man who may be the only late-term abortion practitioner in Australia has lost his medical license for a year after he was found to be inappropriately prescribing addictive drugs to patients.