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In the Press

  • Labour MP Caroline Flint today intervened in a debate about transgender equality to claim that gender-neutral toilets put women at risk.

    Ms Flint made the unexpected intervention as Maria Miller, the chair of Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee, was launching the first ever Parliamentary debate on transgender issues.

    The Labour MP, a key critic of her party leader Jeremy Corbyn, cited sexual offences as a concern about transgender policies – appearing to parrot the campaign tactics of anti-LGBT Republicans in the United States.

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  • Children in Ontario, Canada, may now have up to four legal parents, none of which must be birth parents, under a bill passed by the legislature Tuesday.

    Under the All Families are Equal Act, same-sex couples or a group of up to four adults who agree to have a child, whether through a surrogate mother or artificial insemination, will be legally viewed as parents without any adoption process. They simply must sign a contract to co-parent before the child is conceived.

    The bill also changes existing code in the Children’s Law Reform Act and the Vital Statistics Act to “use gender-neutral terminology, where possible,” according to the attorney general’s office.

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  • The SNP has called on the UK government to match its commitment to reforming gender recognition laws ahead of a House of Commons debate.

    Angela Crawley, SNP equalities spokesperson, will highlight the Scottish government’s pledge to reform gender recognition law in Scotland to meet international best practice, and ensure all transgender and non-binary people are able to get legal recognition of their gender identity.

    SNP MPs will also call for amendments to the Equality Act 2010 to ensure trans and non-binary people are covered by discrimination protections.

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  • In Toronto, Canada, two professors are having a very public row. One is a professor of Clinical Psychology and the other a professor of Physics. If changes in the law take place in a way that is anticipated, one of them may end up in jail.

    They don’t even know each other. And you might thank that because it is taking place in Canada, we can all relax, because it could never happen here; except that many of the changes so far that have taken place in Canada, one of the most socially progressive cultures in the Western World, are copied elsewhere.

    This was the country that first removed ‘mother and father’ from birth certificates on the grounds that if gay and lesbian parents could not constitute a mother and father together, and so feel discriminated against, then the term should be abolished altogether.

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  • Some Christians feel so "picked on" they are too scared to speak about their faith in public, a bishop has warned.

    The Right Reverend Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, said some secularists "have a problem" with religion being talked about.

    And he warned that a brand of "intolerant" liberalism circulates in the UK which is dismissive of the Christian faith.

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  • Romania's Constitutional Court (CCR) postponed again on Tuesday, November 29, a decision in the case of the Romanian Adrian Coman and the US-born Clay Hamilton, a gay couple who got married in Belgium and want to have their marriage recognized in Romania.

    It is the fourth time when the court postpones a decision in this case. Valer Dorneanu, president of the Constitutional Court, said after the Court’s meeting on Tuesday that the CCR would ask for a point of view from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), under the demand of the parts.

    As news of the referral reached Brussels, ILGA-Europe Advocacy Director Katrin Hugendubel commented "We know this isn’t the end of the journey for Adrian and his family – but we are edging ever closer to what could be a momentous day for them. Many couples, whose right to freely move and reside within the European Union have been limited by similar domestic restrictions, will also be eagerly awaiting the outcome of this case."

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  • Extra legal powers may be needed to prosecute hate preachers who encourage violent radicalisation in private conversations, according to the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation.

    In his final report after six years in the influential post, David Anderson QC says the requirement in the 2006 Terrorism Act that such persuasion needs to be "published" or delivered at a meeting should be re-examined.

    "That change might make it possible to use undercover officers for the purposes of gathering evidence against those who are inspiring terrorists," he suggests.

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  • On the eighth floor in a gritty suburb of the capital, Taipei, sits the ten-year-old Wei-ming temple, a Taoist house of worship—but an unusual one. Nearly all the visitors buying bundles of prayers or bringing handwritten ones of their own to be burnt by the priest at the altar are gay. The deity receiving the prayers, and to whom the shrine is dedicated, is the Rabbit Spirit, a 17th-century folk deity from Fujian province in mainland China who protects men who have sex with men. In late imperial China, "rabbit" became a derogatory term for homosexual. In this temple the rabbits are reclaiming the label.

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  • Lambeth Palace today [29 Nov 2016] announced the appointment of Ruth Mawhinney as Head of Media to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Mrs Mawhinney is currently Editor of Christian Today.

    This is a new role which will oversee day to day contact with the media and provide the Archbishop with regular advice and guidance. The Archbishop’s Communications team at Lambeth, led by Director of Communications Ailsa Anderson, remains a total of three people.

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  • He lives in Lambeth Palace, surrounded by priceless artefacts and can legitimately claim to be the ecclesiastical leader of more than 85 million pilgrims. But the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, knows the experience of having little in the way of possessions.

    As a 12-year-old boy, he recalls leaving rented flats in the dead of night, tiptoeing out of several buildings because his father was unable to pay the landlord. The fees for his final two years at Eton were never paid but absorbed by the school. He has known the insecurity and humiliation of not having enough money to pay the bills.

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