SHAFAQNA-- President Vladimir Putin signalled on Friday that Moscow would seek changes in an agreement regulating adoptions of Russian children by French parents, saying a French law allowing same-sex marriage went against traditional Russian values.
Russia has already halted adoptions by Americans in a dispute with Washington over human rights. Any move to scrap the year-old agreement with France, or impose new restrictions, would deepen a divide between Putin and European nations over homosexuality and gay rights.
Putin, who has often championed socially conservative values since he began a third term last May, was greeted in the Netherlands this month by demonstrators protesting against Russian legislation that critics say would discriminate against gays.
At a meeting on children’s issues, Putin expressed support for a regional lawmaker, Marina Orgeyeva, who proposed reviewing the adoption agreement with France because of its decision to allow same-sex marriage, Russian news agencies reported. The French parliament approved the new law on Tuesday.
“She is right. We need to react to what is going on around us,” Interfax quoted Putin as saying. “We respect our partners, but we ask that they respect our cultural traditions and the ethical, legislative and moral norms of Russia.”
“I think we have the right to make changes.”
Putin made no recommendations about how the agreement might be altered, but a senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker, Yelena Mizulina, said among the options were withdrawing from the agreement or seeking to change it, state-run RIA reported.
The agreement with France is one of several Russia has reached with Western nations in an effort to clarify rules for the adoption of Russian children and enable Russia to better monitor their progress abroad to ensure they are treated well.
Russia withdrew from a similar agreement with the United States and banned adoptions of Russian children by Americans as of Jan. 1 as part of its response to a U.S. law designed to punish Russia for alleged human rights abuses.
Putin, in power as president or prime minister since 2000, has spoken repeatedly in his new Kremlin term about the importance of what he has called traditional values and has drawn closer to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Russia’s parliament, in which the pro-Putin United Russia has a majority, has given preliminary approval to a ban on “homosexual propaganda” targeting minors, which critics say would effectively ban gay rights demonstrations.
The United States has said the legislation severely restricts freedom of expression and assembly.
The European Union and United States have also criticised Russia over what critics say is a clampdown on dissent in Putin’s new term, but he has rejected their concerns.
In the Netherlands in early April, Putin said Russia did not discriminate against gays, but criticised same-sex couples for not helping reverse Russia’s population decline.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation's heartland and triggered huge demonstrations that tapped into intense discontent with the Socialist government. Within hours, fiery clashes broke out between protesters and riot police.
Legions of officers stayed late into the night, and a protest against the measure turned violent near the Invalides complex of museums and monuments. Protesters threw glass bottles, cans and metal bars at police, who responded with tear gas.
It was an issue that galvanized the country's faltering right, which had been decimated by infighting and their election loss to President Francois Hollande. France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage nationwide —and the most populous.
The measure passed easily in the Socialist-majority Assembly, 331-225, just after the president of the legislative body expelled a disruptive protester in pink, the colour adopted by French opponents of gay marriage.
1st weddings could come in June
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told lawmakers that the first weddings could be as soon as June.
"We believe that the first weddings will be beautiful and that they'll bring a breeze of joy, and that those who are opposed to them today will surely be confounded when they are overcome with the happiness of the newlyweds and the families," she said.
Earlier in the day, there appeared to be more police than protesters outside the Parliament building on Paris' Left Bank, but that calculation soon shifted as night fell and thousands gathered to protest the bill. The protest dwindled to a few stalwarts shortly before midnight, when the violence began among a few hundred demonstrators including some who carried signs saying "Socialist dictatorship."
Claire Baron, 41, a mother of two, said that she "will oppose the bill until the end."
"I'll keep going to the protests, I don't give in. The bill is not effective yet, the president of the Republic must listen to our voices. We are here to defend family values. Children need a mom and a dad," Baron said.
In recent weeks, violent attacks against gay couples have spiked and some legislators have received threats — including Claude Bartelone, the Assembly president, who got a gunpowder-filled envelope on Monday.
One of the biggest protests against same-sex marriage drew together hundreds of thousands of people bused in from the French provinces — conservative activists, schoolchildren with their parents, retirees, priests and others. That demonstration ended in blasts of tear gas, as right-wing rabble-rousers, some in masks and hoods, led the charge against police, damaging cars along the Champs-Elysees avenue and making a break for the presidential palace.
'I feel immense joy'
Following the vote members of the gay and lesbian community flocked to a square in central Paris, just behind City Hall, to celebrate the vote.
"I feel immense joy, gigantic joy," said 39-year old Sylvain Rouzel. "At last, everyone has the same rights. This is huge! France was lagging behind. We had to wait 14 years after the civil union to finally obtain the right to get married, with equal rights for everyone. I feel great!"
Paris' openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, was among the crowd of hundreds gathered for the street celebration in the Marais, the city's historic gay neighbourhood.
When Hollande promised to legalize gay marriage, it was seen as relatively uncontroversial. The issue has become a touchstone as his popularity has sunk to unprecedented lows, largely over France's ailing economy.
"The opposition is in a weakened position, but they know which buttons to press in order to get a reaction in society, in a country as liberal as France, where nobody thought it was an issue," said Hossein Alizadeh, a co-ordinator with the U.S.-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission who has followed the issue.
But the most visible face in the fight against gay marriage — a former comedienne who goes by the name of Frigide Barjot — said the movement named "A Protest for Everyone" will continue beyond the law's passage and possibly field candidates in 2014 municipal elections. She said anyone involved in protest violence would be marginalized, but blamed the government for its failure to listen.
"The violence comes from the way in which this was imposed," Barjot told France Info radio.
French conservatives, demoralized and divided by the election loss of standard-bearer Nicolas Sarkozy, found common cause in opposing same-sex marriage. Hoping to keep the issue alive, the conservative UMP party planned to challenge the law in the constitutional Council.
"The controversy that we've seen has been a stoked and manipulated controversy that's really kind of a last-ditch attempt to block the tide of history," said Evan Wolfson, president of the American activist group Freedom to Marry, which he said worked with the French on the bill. "I don't think it spoke to a deep or wide opposition among the French people."
Civil unions allowed since 1999
French civil unions, allowed since 1999, are at least as popular among heterosexuals as among gay and lesbian couples. But that law has no provisions for adoption, and the strongest opposition in France as far as same-sex couples goes comes when children are involved. According to recent polls, just over half of French are opposed to adoption by same-sex couples — about the same number who said they favoured same-sex marriage.
Christophe Crepin, spokesman for the police union UNSA, says the extraordinary security Tuesday included a total of about 4,000 officers in the area near the National Assembly building and water cannon positioned nearby.
On the cover of Tuesday's Liberation newspaper, the famed gay photographers Pierre and Gilles took over the front page and several of the inside pages, splashing them with some of their most provocative photos, including one of three soccer players — nude but for the footwear — facing the camera.
In New Zealand, where gay marriage enjoys popular support, people gathered outside Parliament and joined in singing a traditional Maori love ballad after a vote last week making it legal. Nine states and the District of Columbia in the U.S. also recognize such marriages, but the federal government does not.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) Women hold up half the sky, China's Chairman Mao famously said. But in China, the one-child policy and the traditional preference for boys mean that 117 boys are born for every 100 baby girls. By one estimate, this means there could be 24 million Chinese men unable to find wives by the end of the decade.
As China's economy booms, the marriage market has become just that: a market, with new demands by women for apartments and cars.
Let's Make A Deal
It's Derek Wei's big day: his wedding day. He arrives at his bride's house early in the morning, knocking on the door accompanied by his groomsmen. It's locked, as tradition demands.
This wedding ritual, called chuangmen has resurfaced recently, along with other traditional practices like demands for a betrothal gift, sometimes known as "bride price."
"Red packets! Red packets!" shouts the niece of Lucy Wang, the bride, demanding the men stuff red packets full of money through the door.
"Not enough!" shouts the head bridesmaid, who wants more money before she'll open up. The women play along, complaining noisily about Wei's stinginess. This is the last in a series of financial transactions that accompanies this — and every Chinese — wedding.
"It's like a negotiation," Wei says. "What do you need to get married? What can I provide? When we reach a deal, we discuss: What does your family want? What does my family have to bargain with?"
Minutes tick slowly, and Wei is getting nervous they'll be late.
"I love you, wife!" he shouts, thumping the door. "Let me in!"
From the other side of the door, his future wife, Lucy Wang, demands a song. He complies, singing a soppy old-time love song to the closed wooden door, along with a groomsman who takes pity on him. The women giggle. But Wang's demands have been for more than just music.
Wang has an office job in Beijing, she's from Shanxi province. Wedding customs there demand the groom to give his future in-laws a big betrothal gift, traditionally known as the bride price. Wei handed over 68,888 yuan — an auspicious number — which is more than $11,000.
Wang, however, is not so impressed. "There are lots of coal mine owners where I come from, so they push the prices up," she explains. "In an ordinary family, the betrothal gift is about $10,000. To be honest, where I'm from, that's hardly anything."
Finally, the men lose patience and brace their shoulders against the door, noisily forcing their way into the room with battle cries.
Wei is on his knees. It's the first time he's seen his wife on their big day: He has a massive grin on his face and a bouquet of pink roses for Wang.
His first thought on hearing of the betrothal gift was pure fear. But his situation is very common. Most young men getting married in China today are expected to fork out, often providing an apartment, sometimes a car and a betrothal gift, too. Things were much easier when his parents got married four decades ago.
"My parent's wedding was very simple," Wei says wistfully. "You can't even imagine how simple it was. They had a bed, a cupboard, a bike and a sewing machine. That was China in the '70s."
That Was Then, This Is Now
And this is China in the 21st century. Weddings involve two photographers and a videographer and firecracker displays and MCs, as well as the financial negotiations leading up to the celebration.
Wang's former classmate, Frank Zhang, who got married 12 years ago, is the master of ceremony for their wedding. He's amazed at how much difference one decade has made in terms of wedding customs.
On his wedding day, Zhang and his new wife celebrated by inviting their friends home for a meal. He didn't give her an apartment or a car or any money.
And when she first met his parents, they gave her 888 yuan — another auspicious amount — or roughly $100 about one-hundredth of the bride price Wei paid. It's a sobering reminder of how the gender imbalance and new wealth is changing China.
For his part, Wei spent about one year's salary on the bride price and gold jewelry, which also formed part of Wang's betrothal gift. On top of that, he's expected to provide an apartment for his new wife; his parents' home is about to be demolished, and they'll get two new flats in compensation. Wei is counting on them to give him one as the marital home.
What Numbers Show
Nowadays, 70 percent of Chinese women believe a man should provide an apartment, along with a marriage offer, according to a 2011 survey. In economic terms, the relative scarcity of women is giving them bargaining power. These women's demands are making China's economy grow even faster.
"Rising sex ratios contribute to two percentage points of GDP growth," says Xiaobo Zhang, a professor of economics at Peking University, who also works at the International Food Policy Research Institute.
His studies have found that up to 25 percent of the growth in China's economy stems back to the effect of the rising sex ratio. Together with Shang-Jin Wei, from Columbia University, he's also found that 30 to 48 percent of the real estate appreciation in 35 major Chinese cities is directly linked to a man's need to acquire wealth — in the form of property — to attract a wife.
Zhang has found families with sons in areas with higher gender imbalances are more likely to be unhappy, and to have to work harder in order to be able to afford that all-important wedding gift — the apartment.
"In order to save more, families with sons must work harder. They are more likely to become entrepreneurs, more likely to take risky jobs — like working in the construction sector — more likely to work longer hours. All this contributes to economic growth," Zhang says.
Are Gender Roles Unbalanced?
Wei borrowed money for this wedding; most young men have no choice due to the soaring cost of real estate. An urban apartment costs around 15 times the average annual income of a homebuyer. So parents like Wei's often start saving up from the moment their son is born.
But some argue that women aren't necessarily benefiting. Leta Hong Fincher is writing a book on gender and home ownership in China. She believes women are being excluded from what may be the biggest accumulation of real estate wealth in history.
"There are three main ways in which I argue that women have been shut out of the accumulation of real estate wealth: the first is that parents tend to buy homes for sons, not daughters; the second is that homes tend to be registered in men's names only; the third is that women often transfer their life savings over to the man to finance the purchase of a marital home, which is then often registered solely in the man's name," she says.
Back at the wedding, all of this is beside the point. Lucy Wang and Derek Wei are planning to register their home in both their names. As a toy tank bearing the couple's rings trundles down the aisle, they drink from a champagne fountain and share a kiss. Their life together is only just starting.
But soon they'll be three. Just a few weeks have passed since the wedding, and they're already expecting their first child. They hope it will be a girl.
"We wouldn't have to buy her an apartment," Wang says, "and she'd cost us less than a boy."
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) France’s Senate has approved a controversial same-sex marriage bill, regardless of massive opposition to the legislation in the country.
On Tuesday, the upper house of the French parliament approved by 179 votes against 157 the first article of the bill, which legalizes marriage between two people of the same gender.
Another article concerning the right of same-sex couples to adopt children will be voted on separately.
France has experienced huge protests against the same-sex marriage bill, including a rally on March 24, where police attacked thousands of participants with tear gas and batons.
The French lower chamber of the parliament passed the bill on February 12 following 110 hours of debate.
The opponents of the bill say children have a fundamental right to have a father and mother and that the bill will lead to the disintegration of the family institution.
French churches have also condemned the bill, calling gay marriage “a sham” that would “shake one of the foundations of our society.”
President Francois Hollande had promised to throw his weight behind the bill, as the proposed legislation was one of his presidential campaign promises.
Several other European states, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Norway, Spain, and Sweden have also authorized same sex-marriage.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- What was mentioned about the marriage of Adam and Eve from the Household members (PUT) is that when God created Adam (PUH) from sand and breathed in him from His Spirit and Made the Angels prostrate before him, he got asleep, and while he was sleeping God created Eve as He did create Adam (PUH) from a mud of the same type of the mud of Adam or from the remains of his mud, and Made her stuck to his side in a position between his hips, and that to make woman belonging to man.
When God founded the soul into her she moved and Adam got awake for her movement, and she was called to move away from him, and when Adam looked at her he saw a pretty creation that looks like him but she was a female, and talked to her and she spoke with his language, then he said to her: who are you? So she said: a creation made by God as you can see. Then Adam talked to his Lord and said: O Lord,
who is this creation who I got amused for being with and looking at? Then said God, the Exalted: this is My slave, Eve, would you like her to be with you for your amusement and talk with you and be under your command? So Adam said: Yes O Lord, and thanks and praise be to You as long as I live.
Then God did say: ask for her engagement from Me, for she is My slave and she is the one for lust too. And God dropped the lust over him(Adam), and he did say: O Lord, I ask for her engagement for myself, what would make You satisfy? Then God did say: My satisfaction would be to teach her My faith.
Then Adam (PUH) did say: that would be for You O Lord, as long as You want it. Then God did say: I wanted so, and she is your wife for what I have asked you to do, so take her to your side. So then Adam (PUH) accepted that and been satisfied, then Adam did say: come to me, then she said: but you have to come to me, then God ordered Adam to go to her and so he did, and if it wasn't that women would go by themselves to men to make engagements, and this is the story of the marriage of Adam and Eve.
It is famous in the public that Eve was created from the left rib of Adam, and this was denied by members of the Household (PUT), it was been told that when Al-Imam Al-Sadiq (PUH) was asked about this matter and the questioner showed that is it famous in the public that Eve was created from the left rib of Adam,
so then Al-Sadiq (PUH) did say: praise be to God and Exalted He shall be above all what they say, who says that God did not have the ability to create a wife for Adam but from his rib and make a way for who talks in ill manner to say that Adam got married to himself as long she is made from his rib, not for these people did God judge between them and us.
From Al-Imam Al-Razi [famous medicine and science man and some say he was a Shiite and got his teachings and wisdom from the Imams of the Household PUT, and God only Knows] in his interpretation for God's saying "O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate"(Al-Nesa': 1) : what is meant by this mate is Eve, and about the creation of Eve from Adam there are two sayings, the first: and it is the most common, that when God created Adam, made him sleep then Created Eve from one of his left ribs,
so when he got awake and saw her, he got inclined to her because she was made from one of his parts. This saying was supported by the saying of the prophet (PUH): the woman is made of a rib, so whenever you want to make it straight it would be broken and if you left it bent, you would enjoy it. This is what they said and God only knows, for supporting their believe and claims.
The second saying: and it is the choice of Abi Muslim Al-Asfahani: what is meant by God's saying "and from it created its mate" meaning from its type and it is like God's saying "He created for you helpmeets from yourselves"(Al-Rum: 21) and like His saying "by sending unto them a messenger of their own"(Al-Imran: 164)
And there are explanations and opinions and discoveries made and born by the ideas of philosophists and it was not the first flask to be broken in Islam, for there are so many inventors and makers, and God did say "follow not that whereof thou hast no knowledge" (Al-Esra',Bani Isra'il: 36) and "Assuredly conjecture can by no means take the place of truth"(Yunus: 36) and "Hath Allah permitted you, or do ye invent a lie concerning Allah?"(Yunus: 59) and "Ask the followers of the Remembrance if ye know not!"(Al-Nahl: 43)
The truth is what was said by the members of the Household (PUT), and they know better. And it is necessary to remember that what is agreed on by logic and as transfered by speech that God, the Exalted, Is able to Create anything anyhow He likes, and when He created Adam (PUH) from sand, He was able to Create Eve also from sand, and as long it is that way for what purpose He , the Exalted, would create her out from one of his (PUH) ribs but to be against what the Household do say,
and what was said by the Household is what goes along with the good thinking and would be accepted by the straight mind, and if the creation of Eve from his ribs, after his existence and the completeness of his creation and being breathed in and making the Angels prostrate before him as they claim, that would require getting his rib out after falling asleep to create Eve in something appears more like a surgery as done by the physicians these days like cutting and pulling out stones and opening the abdomen,
after putting under the chloroform and it is something that would make the bereaved mother laugh, and if they meant by all that that she was created from the remains of his mud and his sand and not his rib after his creation, then it is as said by the Household of Muhammad the Chosen, and so no difference, but why do they say his left rib? maybe they meant from the his sand remains and God knows better and it is all up to Him and no power except by Him.
Adapted from: "The Life and the Tales of the Prophet Adam (pbuh)" by: "Abdul-Saheb al-Hasani al-'Ameli"
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The U.S. Constitution requires that presidents "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
The Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, defines marriage as only between a man and woman. As such, it denies federal spousal benefits to same-sex couples.
In a legal brief last month, the Obama Justice Department sided with litigants who are asking the high court to strike down the law as unconstitutional.
In addition to Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia — another member of the court's conservative bloc — questioned the Obama administration's decision to oppose the law, citing a "new regime" at the Justice Department.
This isn't the first go-round between Roberts, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, and Team Obama.
During the 2010 State of the Union Address, attended by Roberts and other Supreme Court justices, Obama criticized the court for a recent campaign finance decision made by Roberts and other court conservatives.
Congressional Democrats loudly applauded the president's remarks.
Roberts later described the experience of being surrounded by "cheering and hollering" members of Congress as "very troubling." The chief justice questioned whether court members should attend State of the Union speeches that have "degenerated into a political pep rally."
Last year, critics of Obama and supporters of Roberts accused the president of seeking to intimidate the court as it considered his health care law. The president had said he was confident that "an unelected group of people" would avoid "an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning" such an important law passed by congressional majorities.
As it turned out, Roberts provided the key vote in a 5-4 decision upholding the Affordable Care Act in June, drawing criticism from conservatives.
There was also Roberts' botching of the oath of office at Obama's first inauguration in 2009, forcing the two men into a do-over the next day.
That all said, Roberts and Obama have never criticized each other directly in public, and were seen exchanging warm greetings at the most recent State of the Union on Feb. 12.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Marriage has become a troubling problem for many Muslims in Britain as parents are finding difficulty in finding suitable partners for their children, forcing many to postpone it to older age.
“Parents should start a dialogue with their children regarding marriage earlier rather than delaying it. Maybe from the age of twenty onwards,” a Muslim scholar, who did not wish to be named, told Asian Image on Monday, March 25.
“Assistance should be sought from senior members of the community outlining a clear criterion for the prospective spouse.
“This is a tried and tested traditional method which is very effective.”
Marriage has become a troubling problem for many Muslims in Britain.
Muslim parents have been facing difficulty in finding suitable partners to their children, forcing many to postpone marriage to older age.
“Parents need to understand the importance of compatibility,” the imam said.
“Our children who are born and bred here in the United Kingdom should look for partners here, as there is already an understanding of British and Muslim life.
The imam opines that Muslim parents in Britain should pick up British-born spouses for their children.
“A partner from abroad will find it difficult to adjust to the British way of life and more importantly they will encounter issues in trying to live a normal acceptable life with their partners,” he said.
“Sometimes one of the two may feel traumatized and oppressed in some way.
“This is the reality we as a community will have to accept and find a solution to. Some young men and women end up living like slaves in marriage whereas married life is a blissful and happy life if the true teachings of Islam are adhered to by all parties.”
He advised Muslim youngsters to discuss their concerns with their parents or seek advice from British Muslim imams and scholars.
“At the same time children will have an opportunity to mention to parents how they feel,” he said.
“Sometimes youngsters feel it is too soon to settle down but due to the challenges we are facing in society, I would say the sooner the better.
“Young people should approach their local English speaking scholars for guidance in these issues. British born scholars and Imams will understand the problems faced by the youth of today so are well placed to advised and guide.”
British Muslims are estimated at nearly 2.5 million.
The imam urged British Muslims to maintain Islamic manners whiling looking for their spouses.
“Youngsters should avoid any activity, conduct or behavior that would damage their reputation. Decisions for marriage are based on reputation, character and piety,” he said.
“As individuals we should have a good character and demonstrate an understanding of responsibility.”
Marriage in Islam is of utmost importance as it is upon the lawful union of a man and a woman that society grows strong and that moral is preserved.
In Islam it is not permissible for the guardian to compel the one under his guardianship to marry someone she does not desire to marry.
Rather, it is necessary to seek her consent and permission.
The imam also urged community leaders to offer advice to young couples to help curb rising divorce rates.
“Young married couples should seek early intervention and assistance when experiencing problems in their marriage.
“Too many young spouses are leaving it too late and suffering in silence and early intervention always helps and reduces suffering,” he said.
“Again intervention should be sought from understanding local scholars who should be able to advise and illuminate issues resulting in a better matrimonial life.
“In most cases the problem is minor and could have been dealt with very easily had help been sought earlier. This will definitely result in the divorce rates dropping drastically if this strategy is adopted.”-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The Supreme Court justices raised questions on Tuesday morning on the meaning of marriage.
Two California couples challenging Proposition 8, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, say it excludes gay and lesbian couples from an institution with a deep and distinctive meaning and thus violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.
Defenders of the ban say that states should be able to work out for themselves whether to permit same-sex marriage. The Constitution is silent on the question, they say, and the court should not intervene in the vigorous debate playing out across the nation.
In a vivid comment as the Supreme Court conducted the first of two days of arguments on same-sex marriage, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, often a swing vote in major cases, spoke strongly about the interests of the children of same-sex couples, saying there were an estimated 40,000 such children in California alone.
“They want their parents to have full recognition,” Mr. Kennedy said.
But Justice Kennedy also spoke of uncertainty about the consequences for society of allowing same-sex marriage. “We have five years of information to pose against 2,000 years of history or more,” he said, speaking of the long history of traditional marriage and the brief experience allowing gays and lesbians to marry in some states.
Several justices also challenged the notion that procreation is the key to the state’s interest in marriage. Justice Stephen Breyer asked Charles J. Cooper, who was arguing for opponents of same-sex marriage, about sterile opposite-sex couples. “There are lots of people who get married who can’t have children,” he said.
But there was also extended discussion of a preliminary issue -- whether the plaintiffs in the case actually have legal standing to challenge the state court ruling that overturned Proposition 8, the ballot initiative banning gay marriage.
Seconds into the morning hearing, as Mr. Cooper began his argument, Chief Justice John Roberts cut him off and asked him to address the standing issue. It could prove a crucial question, since the court could decide they have no standing and effectively leave in place a state ruling striking down the same-sex marriage ban.
Theodore B. Olson, arguing for proponents of same-sex marriage, said that the plaintiffs do not have standing. But his main argument was that Proposition 8 “walls off gays and lesbians from marriage,” which both sides in the case recognize as a fundamentally important institution. Mr. Olson said that a ban on same-sex marriage would have the effect of “labelling their most sacred relationship” as “not okay.”
Nine states and the District of Columbia allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Polls show that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, suggesting that further gains are likely in state legislatures and at the ballot box.
The trends lend support to both sides. The ban’s challengers ask the court to provide leadership in cementing victories in what they call the civil rights issue of the day. Its defenders counter that the increase in the number of states that allow same-sex marriage shows that the democratic process is working and that the court should not interfere.
The case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144, was filed in 2009 by Mr. Olson and David Boies, two lawyers who were on opposite sides in the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, which settled the 2000 presidential election. They argued that California voters had violated the federal Constitution the previous year when they approved Proposition 8, overriding a decision of the state’s Supreme Court allowing same-sex marriages.
Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the Federal District Court in San Francisco agreed, issuing a broad decision that said the Constitution required the state to allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision has been stayed.
A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, also in San Francisco, affirmed the decision. But the majority relied on a narrower ground, saying that voters were not permitted to withdraw the right to marry once it had been established by the state Supreme Court. The logic of the ruling was thus confined to California.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Tens of thousands of French families, activists and conservatives have marched in Paris protesting against a bill that if passed would allow same-sex marriage and adoption. Police fired teargas to prevent protesters from entering the Champs Elysees.
Demonstrators gathered Sunday in the center of the French capital for a final mass protest against the controversial bill that if backed in the Senate during April’s, vote may become law as early as the summer. So far the draft has been passed in the lower house of parliament.
Currently French gay men and women are allowed to adopt as individuals if approved by social services.
Protestors demand the government withdraw the bill instead putting the issue to the public through project a referendum.
Over 60 percent of the French support gay marriage, though just under half support adoption by same sex couples.The law was a key electoral pledge by Hollande, but his critics say he has tried to push it through without broad public consensus.
Despite chilly weather, thousands opposed to French legislation lined a five-kilometer route leading to the Champs Elysees, from the Arc de la Defense to the Arc de Triomphe. Many were holding banners and chanting slogans against the introduction of the bill.
Flags unfolded from the balconies along the protesters’ route read "We want work not gay marriage," and "No to gayxtremism."
Earlier this week Paris police banned protesters from demonstrating on the Champs Elysees, a move that demonstrators called “political decision dressed up as a police measure”.
Despite the ban some 200 protesters still tried to proceed to the world-famous avenue, provoking police officers to use teargas, AFP photographers said.
Sunday, official police estimated the turnout at around 300,000; a similar rally in January officially drew about 340,000 people.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- In a new, updated policy statement, the nation's largest pediatricians group says that civil marriage for same-sex couples -- as well as full adoption and foster care rights for all parents, regardless of sexual orientation -- is the best way to ensure legal and financial security for children in these families.
"Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage," said Benjamin Siegel, co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement. The group "believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal supports provided to married couples to raise children." Siegel is a pediatrics professor at Boston University School of Medicine.
The new policy statement, published online today, is in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.
In 2002 and again in 2010, the 60,000-member association supported second-parent adoption by same-sex partners as a way to protect children's right to maintain relationships with both parents, eligibility for health benefits and financial security. The new policy statement and an accompanying technical report adds recommendations in support of civil marriage for same-sex couples; adoption by single parents, co-parents or second parents regardless of sexual orientation; and foster care placement regardless of sexual orientation.
The statement says that an extensive body of scientific research documents that there is no cause-and-effect relationship between parents' sexual orientation and children's well-being.
Multiple studies attest to the healthy development of children of same-sex couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic support, the statement says.
The statement names other national medical and health groups that have said they support marriage equality, including the American Psychological Association; the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Others that the statement says "support gay and lesbian parenting and the nurturing of children" include: the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Medical Association.