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Public Discourse: The European Convention on Human Rights does not require European nations to redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships. However, the European Court of Human Rights may rule in the future that member states must recognize same-sex civil unions.
ADF International: ADF International filed a brief with the European Court of Human Rights Thursday that makes legal arguments in defense of unborn children. The court granted ADF International permission to intervene in the case of Lia Shioshvili, a Georgian national who gave birth to a stillborn child after Russian authorities mistreated her.
ADF Media: The Fourth Section of the European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday that Bulgarian authorities violated a Christian woman’s freedom of thought, conscience, and religion when they unjustly arrested her for private worship meetings in her home. The court also found that the government violated her right to an effective remedy of the situation, which has spanned 20 years. ADF attorneys represented the woman, Petya Dimitrova, at the ECHR.
PBS: Belgium has the world’s most liberal law on physician-assisted suicide, which is not just for the terminally ill. Patients with psychiatric conditions – and now, even children – can request euthanasia. Surveys in Belgium show overwhelming public support, and many doctors say it gives patients with constant and unbearable suffering a practical and humane way to die peacefully. But even in a country with a far-reaching acceptance, controversy still exists. NewsHour’s Megan Thompson reports.
Townhall: As ADF Legal Counsel, Paul Coleman said, “The human rights situation for Christians in Iran has been well-documented, and there is little doubt that a Christian convert would face real risk of harm if he is forced to return to his country. Christians should be able to practice their faith openly without fearing for their lives.”
The Telegraph: Laws banning incest between brothers and sisters in Germany could be scrapped after a government ethics committee said the they were an unacceptable intrusion into the right to sexual self-determination.
Alliance Defending Freedom and Jubilee Campaign filed a brief with the European Court of Human Rights Thursday highlighting the dire situation facing Christian converts in Iran. In January, a lower chamber of the court ruled that Sweden had not violated the European Convention on Human Rights by denying an Iranian citizen’s request for asylum. The court held that no real threat was posed to the applicant’s life by returning him to Iran because he had kept his faith private – a point ADF and Jubilee Campaign challenge in their brief.
The Washington Times: A court decision issued last month about same-sex marriage received almost no news coverage in the United States, yet the decision could have significant implications when the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether the Constitution requires it.
Life News: In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights heard a case concerning a woman who filed a suit against a doctor for breaching his obligation to prescribe a screening test for Down syndrome. The woman, Anita KRŪZMANE, gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome and claimed that her right’s had been violated in respect to her right to have an abortion.
National Review: Last month, in Hämäläinen v. Finland [link fixed], the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling that reiterated that European countries are not required to grant same-sex couples access to marriage.
OneNewsNow: “‘Hungary had put together a new registration law whereby they deregistered all of the churches and ministries in the country and had them reregister,’ [Roger Kiska] explains. ‘The law itself was discriminatory. It showed favoritism to a number of groups who didn’t meet the criteria otherwise, and then refused to reregister a number of other groups.’”
BosNewsLife: “The ruling came as a victory for the Magyar Keresztény Mennonita Egyház, or ‘Hungarian Christian Mennonite Church’ and several other faith groups who launched the case. ‘Governments should not play favourites when recognizing churches,’ said Roger Kiska, senior legal counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) advocacy group, which supported the case.”
Catholic News Agency: “A ‘newer theme that we see in international law is what we call the SOGI movement, or the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity movement,’ British attorney Paul Coleman told CNA on March 23. . . . ‘The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are terms that aren’t particularly well understood,’ explained the attorney, who serves as legal counsel in the Vienna office of the international organization Alliance Defending Freedom.”
“Governments should not play favorites when recognizing churches. A Council of Europe member state cannot show such favoritism nor can a country discriminate against other churches and ministries with which it may disagree. Europe’s highest human rights court upheld that very principle in this decision, which makes it a historic victory not just for Christians in Hungary, but for all Europeans.”
Religion Clause: “In Britain, the Christian Legal Centre announced today that Jeff and Sue Green, the owners of a guesthouse in Wales, are applying directly to the European Court of Human Rights to obtain a ruling that would allow them to reflect their Christian beliefs by renting double rooms only to married couples.”
Accommodating Religious Beliefs: Harm, Clothing or Symbols, and Refusals to Serve Others | The Modern Law Review
Wintemute, Robert, Accommodating Religious Beliefs: Harm, Clothing or Symbols, and Refusals to Serve Others (March 2014). The Modern Law Review, Vol. 77, Issue 2, pp. 223-253, 2014. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2404151 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2230.12064
Religion Clause: “In Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. United Kingdom, (ECHR, March 4, 2014), the European Court of Human Rights, Fourth Section, held that Britain did not violate the non-discrimination provisions of Art. 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, nor the freedom of conscience and religion provisions of Art. 9, when it held that a Mormon Temple was subject to a reduced tax rate as a place used for charitable purposes, but was not entitled to the full exemption from property taxes that is available to places of ‘public religious worship.’”
Catholic News Agency: “‘The people of Italy recognize that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life, especially for children who deserve both a mom and a dad,’ Roger Kiska, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, said Feb. 17.”
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a brief with the European Court of Human Rights Friday in defense of Italy’s sovereign right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The court’s Second Section agreed last week to allow Alliance Defending Freedom to intervene as a third party in defense of the country’s marriage laws.
Perrone, Roberto, Public Morals and the ECHR (January 20, 2014). University of Leicester School of Law Research Paper No. 14-02. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2382086
BBC: “The European Court of Human Rights has found in favour of an Irish woman who was seeking to hold the state liable for sexual abuse she suffered as a girl at a Catholic-run state primary school in the 1970s.”
Turtle Bay and Beyond: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has decided to hear the case of Adelina Parillo v. Italy (no 46470/11), which has serious implications for the question of the legal status enjoyed by the human embryo.
NC Register: The U.S.-based legal group Alliance Defending Freedom has issued a legal brief supporting Swiss laws that bar assisted suicide for those who do not suffer from any fatal disease. “The government has an obligation to protect life, not assist in promoting death,” Alliance Defending Freedom’s Vienna-based legal counsel Paul Coleman said in a statement.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Paul Coleman submitted a brief in the case. Coleman, Paul (ADF)”The government has an obligation to protect life, not assist in promoting death,” says Coleman. “A person’s claim that she should be able to do whatever she pleases does not override national laws rightfully designed to protect the weak and vulnerable.”
European Human Rights Court Says Refusal of Vegetarian Diet To Buddhist Prisoner Violated His Religious Rights
Religion Clause Blog: In Vartic v. Romania, (ECHR, Dec.17, 2013),the European Court of Human Rights, in a Chamber judgment, held that a Buddhist prison inmate’s rights of religion and conscience protected by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, were infringed when Romanian officials refused to provide him with a vegetarian diet . . .
Switzerland Sued for Not Providing Assisted Suicide Drugs to Woman Without Fatal Disease | LifeSite News
LifeSiteNews: “The government has an obligation to protect life, not assist in promoting death,” said Legal Counsel Paul Coleman. “A person’s claim that she should be able to do whatever she pleases does not override national laws rightfully designed to protect the weak and vulnerable. We are encouraging the Grand Chamber to uphold this principle, which is completely consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a brief with the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights Monday supporting the Swiss government for refusing to provide a woman who does not suffer from any fatal disease with drugs to commit suicide.
Guardian: The law should be changed to make it clear that British courts are not obliged to implement judgments of the European court of human rights (ECHR), according to the former lord chief justice.
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights heard oral arguments (video of full arguments) in S.A.S. v. France, (Application no. 43835/11). As described in a press release from the Court . . .
PressTV.ir: The ECHR in Strasbourg, France, will hear on Wednesday arguments in the case of a French woman – known by the initials SAS – who claims that the ban violates her rights to freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and a prohibition against discrimination.
Religion Clause Blog: In Vallianatos and Others v. Greece, (ECHR, Nov. 7, 2013), the European Court of Human Rights (Grand Chamber) held, by a vote of 16-1, that a Greek civil union law which is limited to heterosexual couples violates The European Convention on Human Rights.
European Court of Human Rights press release: The applicants complain that this Law provides for civil unions only for different-sex couples, thus automatically excluding same-sex couples from its scope of application. They complain that the Greek State introduced a discriminatory distinction in their regard.
Religion Clause Blog: AFP reports that in France, the Cour de Cassation, the country’s highest court, yesterday upheld the 2009 fraud conviction of two French affiliates of the Church of Scientology for manipulating two women into buying products or enrolling in courses.
Sosogay.co.uk: “A Finnish woman has today taken her fight to get her marriage recognised following her gender reassignment to the European Court of Human Rights.”
WorldNetDaily: “The government has an obligation to protect life, not facilitate death,” said ADF Legal Counsel Paul Coleman. “Claims to personal autonomy do not override national laws designed to protect the weak and vulnerable. We trust the Grand Chamber will support this principle, which is entirely consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.” ADF and ECLJ have intervened in the case because of its significance. “The clear jurisprudence of the court is that there is no right to assisted suicide or euthanasia under the convention, nor are there any positive obligations on the state in regard to these issues, save the positive duty on the states to protect life under Article 2,” ADF argued.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: At its last meeting (7 October 2013), the Grand Chamber panel of five judges decided to refer the case of Alda Gross v. Switzerland (application no. 67810/10) to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. The case concerns the complaint of an elderly woman, who wishes to end her life but does not suffer from a clinical illness, that she was unable to obtain a lethal dose of a drug in order to commit an “assisted suicide”.
LifeNews: “The government has an obligation to protect life, not facilitate death,” said Legal Counsel Paul Coleman. “Claims to personal autonomy do not override national laws designed to protect the weak and vulnerable. We trust the Grand Chamber will support this principle, which is entirely consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.”
European high court to again review doctor-prescribed death for woman not terminally ill | Alliance Defending Freedom
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has agreed to hear an appeal in a lawsuit filed against the Swiss government after authorities there would not provide a woman who does not suffer from any fatal disease with drugs to commit suicide.
AP: In a setback for Western efforts to tighten sanctions against Iran, a top European Union court on Friday threw out penalties imposed on several Iranian businesses for their alleged ties to the country’s disputed nuclear program.
Christian Institute: Same-sex marriage could be “illiberal” because religious groups may be forced to perform same-sex weddings, the leader of UKIP has said. Nigel Farage criticised the legalisation of gay marriage in an interview with YouTube channel ChatPolitics.
Ambrus, Monika, The European Court of Human Rights and Standards of Proof in Religion Cases (July 16, 2013). 8 Religion and Human Rights 2 (2013), pp. 107-137, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2294499
Echr: Respect For The Church’s Freedom Justifies The Non-recognition By The State Of A Priests’ Union
Turtle Bay and Beyond: This July 9, 2013, in the case Sindicatul “Păstorul cel Bun” v. Romania (No. 2330/09), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered a highly anticipated judgment about the freedom of churches to operate under their own rules, without arbitrary interference from the State, i.e. in accordance with the principle of autonomy of churches.
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday in Sindicatul “Pastorul Cel Bun” v. Romania, (ECHR, July 9, 2013), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in a 11-6 decision upheld a Romanian County Court’s denial of registration to a trade union formed by priests of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The Conflict between the Autonomy of Religious Groups and Other Fundamental Rights: Recent Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and of the European Court of Human Rights
Annicchino, Pasquale, The Conflict between the Autonomy of Religious Groups and Other Fundamental Rights: Recent Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and of the European Court of Human Rights (June 2, 2013). Quaderni di Diritto e Politica Ecclesiastica 1, 2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2273185 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2273185
UKConstitutionallaw.org: Much progress has been made following the agreement of the Brighton Declaration on reforms to the working practices of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The Brighton Ministerial Conference in April 2012 prompted renewed reflections on the role and legitimacy of the ECtHR itself.
Law and Religion UK: The Chamber of the ECtHR to which the application in S.A.S. v France (No. 43835/11) was assigned has relinquished jurisdiction to the Grand Chamber, neither party having objected to relinquishment.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: Through the judgment of Alda Gross v. Switzerland (No. 67810/10), given on 14th May 2013, the Second Section of the European Court of Human Rights completed the edification of an individual right to assisted suicide (that is to say, consenting euthanasia) in the name of the right to the respect of private life guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
Christian Concern: The Grand Chamber of the Council of Europe has rejected a request for referral from three UK Christians, prompting serious concerns over legal protections for Christians in Britain.
Christian Institute: Lillian Ladele was claiming religious discrimination after being forced out of her Islington Council job over her conscientious objection to same-sex civil partnerships. She was seeking to appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights after losing a 5-2 majority decision in January.
Irish Times: Abortion legislation is incompatible with the core values of human rights, Prof William Binchy, legal adviser to the anti-abortion campaign, has told the Oireachtas committee. He said those values respected and protected the equal dignity and worth of every human being.
Paul Coleman at Bell Towers: For several decades the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has taken an evolutive approach to the meaning of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the notion that the Convention is “a living instrument” now appears to be uncontested. Nevertheless, the Court’s evolutive approach towards assisted suicide and euthanasia is remarkable.
AP: An elderly Swiss woman who would rather end her life now than decline further in health found sympathy Tuesday from the European Court of Human Rights, which called on the Swiss to clarify their laws on so-called passive assisted suicide. | Gross v. Switzerland, 67810/10
One News Now: Roger Kiska, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, explains the state’s point of view. “They’re absolutely oppressive with regard to parental rights. They believe that the only duty of the parents basically is to give birth and then the child belongs to the state,” he tells American Family News. “So we had known all along that this was going to be something that would have to be taken from Sweden and brought to the European level.” Kiska says the remaining option is to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, which has jurisdiction over Sweden. [more]
Christian Concern: In an important development for the protection of ‘freedom of thought, conscience and religion’ the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has passed a resolution calling on its 47 Member states to . . .
Law & Religion UK: The matter is set to return to the Europe following a reference by the High Court in International Stem Cell Corporation v Comptroller General of Patents EWHC 807 (Ch) (17 April 2013)in relation to an appeal by ISCC against a decision that the inventions disclosed in two of its patent applications relating to human stem cells were excluded from patentability. The issues raised by the appeal are summarized in paragraph 3 of the judgement, which states:
Christian Concern: A special event has been held at the Council of Europe in relation to two UK Christians who are seeking a referral to the Grand Chamber in their religious freedom cases at the European Court of Human Rights.
Christian Concern: Three Christians whose cases were rejected by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) earlier this year have requested a referral to the Grand Chamber.
Boston Globe: Hungary’s parliament has overwhelmingly approved a modified plan to restrict the display of Nazi and communist symbols such as the swastika and red star.
Alliance Defending Freedom and the Home School Legal Defense Association have asked the European Court of Human Rights to hear the case of a Swedish family heavily fined for home-schooling their daughter.
Scholars have filed more than 50 amicus briefs with the Supreme Court urging it to uphold California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). While the media seems intent on ignoring these briefs and hyping the briefs on the other side, the sheer number and quality of the briefs in defense of laws recognizing marriage as the union of a man and a woman is impressive.
Belfast Telegraph: A legal victory for a lesbian couple who want to jointly raise one partner’s child could lead to same sex couples in Northern Ireland being allowed to adopt, a gay rights activist has said.
Religion Clause Blog: Britain’s Equality and Human Right Commission this month issued two publications designed to give guidance on accommodating religion and belief in the workplace, in light of last month’s judgments on the issue handed down by the European Court of Human Rights.
Religion Clause Blog: In Juma Mosque Congregation v. Azerbaijan, (ECHR, Feb. 8, 2013), the congregation sued complaining that the government refused to re-register the congregation unless it subordinated itself to the Caucuses Muslim Board.
GoErie.com: There is no doubt that religious liberty is under serious threat in Britain, particularly for Christians,” says Paul Coleman, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which was involved with cases before the European human-rights court. “In the language of ‘equality,’ ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance,’ secularists have found a way to sideline and marginalize Christianity, successfully framing the moral beliefs of Christians as ‘intolerant’ or ‘discriminatory’ and unworthy of protection. Unless a true balance is found, where Christians can be accommodated in the public square and not shut out, we will see many more cases like the four before the ECHR in the headlines.”
Christian Post: For the first time ever, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled against the United Kingdom on a matter of religious liberty involving a Christian woman who worked for British Airways.
Rick Garnett at Mirror of Justice: Over at the site of the (excellent) Religious Freedom Project (a project of Georgetown’s Berkley Center), Roger Trigg has a very informative essay called “Canary in the Coal Mine,” in which he discusses four recent decisions handed down by the European Court of Human Rights. Here is his concluding paragraph . . .
Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe: We thank the Christian Legal Centre (www.christianconcern.com/christian-legal-centre) and Alliance Defending Freedom (www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org) for their detailed analyses of the cases and the text elements provided in this text. We also thank the European Center for Law and Justice (www.eclj.org) for their publications.
Marilyn Stowe Blog: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has upheld a claim by a Croatian woman that her rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights were breached when her newborn child was removed without her consent.
What Are We Doing Here: Misunderstanding freedom on both sides of the Atlantic. | Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO
Jean Kathryn Lopez at National Review and Troy Messenger: “There is no doubt that religious liberty is under serious threat in Britain, particularly for Christians,” says Paul Coleman, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, which was involved with cases before the European human-rights court. “In the language of ‘equality,’ ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance,’ secularists have found a way to sideline and marginalize Christianity, successfully framing the moral beliefs of Christians as ‘intolerant’ or ‘discriminatory’ and unworthy of protection. Unless a true balance is found, where Christians can be accommodated in the public square and not shut out, we will see many more cases like the four before the ECHR in the headlines.”
The New American: Roger Kiska, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which assisted in the cases of all four of the individuals, reacted to the rulings, pointing out that “Christian employees should not be singled out for discrimination. No one should have to hide their faith or act contrary to it. That type of intolerance is inconsistent with the values of civilized communities.” Kiska called the victory for Eweida “a significant step forward for religious freedom in Europe. However, it is extremely disappointing that the court ruled against the three other applicants. We hope they will appeal that decision to the Grand Chamber of the court.”
Christian Institute: The Daily Mail has said rulings against two Christians in Europe yesterday add to warnings that Churches could be sued for refusing to conduct same-sex marriages if they’re made legal. The paper says in its editorial, “how depressingly predictable that the court found the rights of a sexual minority trumped those of Christians.
European Court of Human Rights Vindicates Britain In 3 of 4 Cases Denying Accommodation of Christian Beliefs | Religion Clause Blog