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Cameron renews ‘gay marriage’ pledge as party spirals down the drain

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By Hilary White

LONDON, July 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The UK’s Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister is “killing” his own party, and therefore the coalition government, through his “obsession” with gay “marriage” according to political columnist Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail. Despite the plummeting fortunes of the Conservative Party, and the increasing disaffection of its base, David Cameron announced at a Downing Street reception for homosexualist lobbyists on Tuesday that he remains “absolutely determined” to see the country’s definition of marriage abolished by 2015.

“The promise I can make you is that this coalition government is committed to both changing the law and also working to help change the culture and the Conservative party absolutely backs that. This is something ... I personally feel very passionately about,” Cameron said.

The comments came in spite of recent assurances to MPs and Cabinet members that Conservative MPs would be allowed a free vote in Parliament should legislation make it that far. Cameron is also reported to have told his party that he would not attempt to force the shaky coalition government to go along, and would be campaigning only privately.

The Prime Minister’s plan to force the re-definition of marriage “at any cost” is costing the party plenty according to Pierce. Huge numbers of voters and even senior MPs are abandoning the party as Cameron continues his “updating” project.

Pierce wrote that the numbers do not lie, and Cameron’s whole campaign to “modernise” the party has led it to the brink of political extinction. He quotes figures released by the party showing the number of Conservative members “has fallen below 130,000, a drop of around 60 per cent since he took over in 2005.”

“The bitter and ineluctable truth is that, far from increasing numbers, Mr. Cameron has presided over the sharpest decline in membership in the Conservative party’s history,” writes Pierce.

The “gay marriage” push, he said, has been “the single biggest factor” in the party’s decline, but it has also only been the last straw for angry party supporters. “U-turns over a referendum on Europe, its failure to reform the loathed Human Rights Act and the Tories’ infuriating tendency to give ever more ground to [far-left coalition partners] the wretched Lib Dems have contributed to the decline.”

And there can be no doubt that it is specifically “gay marriage” that is killing the party’s chances with voters. Pierce quotes ComRes polls showing that the issue could cost the party as many as 1.1 million votes and 30 parliamentary seats, with many long-time Tory supporters saying they would either switch to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) or not vote at all. Fifty-six per cent said that it is the plan to re-define marriage that has driven them away from the party.

Party members who through the Blair years watched in horror the near annihilation of the traditional family in Britain are also “enraged” that the Prime Minister has, in another “sop to the Lib Dems,” reneged on campaign promises to increase tax breaks for married couples.

At a “tense” meeting last month Cameron was warned by 20 of the party’s most senior members that the party’s “membership will plunge below the psychologically crucial 100,000 mark if there were no change of heart on same-sex marriage,” Pierce wrote.

A party source told the Daily Mail, “The Prime Minister was told bluntly that gay marriage was causing membership to hemorrhage. Cameron was unmoved and said the members were out of step with the country.

“He doesn’t seem to care that it’s the party members who canvass on doorsteps across the country in all weathers. They lick envelopes, hold fundraisers and at elections drive our older supporters to polling stations. These people are our mainstay and they are abandoning us. Our party is dying on its feet.”

In spite of these warnings, Cameron used the same uncompromising language at his friendly reception on Tuesday, as he has since the party’s last convention. Praising the government of Tony Blair’s New Labour Party for bringing in civil partnerships for homosexuals, he said that “gay marriage” will be a continuation of that tradition.

“I make that point not only as someone who believes in equality but as someone who believes passionately in marriage,” told his audience. If marriage was “good enough” for heterosexual couples, it should be extended to homosexuals, he said.

“I think marriage is a great institution – I think it helps people to commit, it helps people to say that they’re going to care and love for another person. It helps people to put aside their selfish interests and think of the union that they’re forming.

“Its something I feel passionately about and I think if it’s good enough for straight people like me, its good enough for everybody and that’s why we should have gay marriage and we will.”

Some religious observers were also alarmed by the Prime Minister’s comments about the opposition to the plans by churches, wondering if they constituted a veiled threat. Comparing their opposition to that of the Tory party before his recent reforms, he said the Church should not be “locking out” homosexuals from its ministries.

The Church, he said, has “got itself on the wrong side of this argument.”

“It locked people out who were naturally conservative from supporting it and so I think I can make that point to the Church, gently,” he said.

Churches, he said, should not “be locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church, because many people with deeply held Christian views, are also gay”.

“And just as the Conservative Party, as an institution, made a mistake in locking people out so I think the Churches can be in danger of doing the same thing,” he added.

In the face of such comments, and others by government officials, religious leaders continue to be sceptical about assurances that, should the change be made, they would not be forced to cooperate. Last month, the Catholic bishops’ conference of England and Wales said “gay marriage” would likely lead to legal action against ministers who refuse to participate.

John Smeaton, head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the country’s leading political pro-life and pro-family group, wrote that the attempt to re-define marriage is biting Cameron because it is “beyond his remit as a political leader.”

Cameron’s “understanding of marriage and religion is woefully simplistic and ignorant. His mantra of ‘equality’ totally ignores the nature, history and role of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman ordered towards the procreation of children.”

Smeaton promised that the Cameron Conservatives would pay a heavy political price: “SPUC and its colleagues in many pro-family, Christian and Muslim groups, representing countless thousands of supporters and activists up and down the country, will ensure that same-sex marriage becomes a big general election issue, especially in marginal constituencies.”

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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkins’ statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

"It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities," Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. "Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

"While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born," she said. "Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection."

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, "People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society."

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the "difficult and confusing time" when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience "negative attitudes."

"What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information," the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the church they attend in New Jersey, "because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey , 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

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President George Bush takes the ice bucket challenge in a video released this week.
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What’s wrong with the viral ‘ice bucket challenge’? A lot, say pro-life leaders

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By Dustin Siggins

Pro-life leaders in the U.S. are warning about ethical problems with the viral "Ice Bucket Challenge" that has raised over $15 million for research into Lou Gehrig’s Disease since late July, making its way to the top of American politics, and the entertainment and business worlds in the process.

In recent days, former president George W. Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, TV hosts Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Fallon, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have all had ice-cold water dumped on their heads in support of the effort.

They have been joined by many thousands of everyday Americans eager to do their part to raise funds to find a cure for the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

However, pro-life leaders from Patheos blogger Father Michael Duffy to the American Life League (ALL) are all pointing out that the ALS Association, which is behind the wildly popular fundraising effort, funds and otherwise supports embryonic stem cell research.

Instead, they are urging that pro-life people who want to participate in the ice bucket challenge send their donations to other charities that don't have similar ethical issues.

Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of an unborn child. This is unlike adult and umbilical cord stem cell research, which are considered ethical.

A spokesperson from the ALS Association admitted to American Life League in an e-mail that while the organization "primarily funds adult stem cell research," they are "funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC)..."

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"It is noble to combat a deadly disease," Live Action president Lila Rose said in a statement provided to LifeSiteNews, but added that "it's such a shame that the ALS Association...chooses to support research that thrives from experimenting on and killing tiny, innocent human beings."

"Embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of pre-born people, is inherently unethical and a violation of fundamental human rights, and even materialists must admit that promises of its benefits have failed to deliver," continued Rose. "There is no good reason to condone this practice; in fact, all it does is taint the ALS Association, whom I'd otherwise be happy to support."

In the email to American Life League, ALS Assocation Spokesperson Carrie Munk defended the organization, saying that the embryonic stem cell research is being funded by an outside donor, and "the stem cell line was established many years ago."

She added that "under very strict guidelines, The Association may fund embryonic stem cell research in the future," and that currently "donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project."

At least one Catholic archdiocese has spoken up about the problematic relationship between ALS Assocation and unethical research.

"We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in the ice bucket challenge," said a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. "But it's a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit."

Both Fr. Duffy and the archdiocese have recommended money be sent to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa. It is an organization that exclusively researches with adult stem cells. 

One D.C.-area Catholic, Robert Vega, wrote on Facebook that "in light of the absolute dignity of human life and necessity to defend it...I have taken down my Ice Bucket video, untagged myself from my nomination video, and encourage anyone to whom I may have spread the Challenge to do the same."

Embryonic stem cell research, which was a major controversy throughout the presidency of George W. Bush, has quietly, although decidedly, become less popular after many of the exalted promises of its proponents failed to materialize. As LifeSiteNews reported, in 2012 California and Maryland funded a fraction of the embryonic stem cell research projects that they did in 2007. Likewise, Maryland funded nearly twice as many stem cell research projects in 2012 as it had in the prior year -- but only one of the grants was done for an embryonic research project.

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Catholic couple fined $13,000 for refusing to host same-sex ‘wedding’ at their farm

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By Kirsten Anderson
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Robert and Cynthia Gifford

The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) has ruled that the Roman Catholic owners of an Albany-area farm violated the civil rights of a lesbian couple when they declined to host the couple’s same-sex “marriage” ceremony in 2012.

Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who own and operate Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, were ordered by DHR Judge Migdalia Pares and Commissioner Helen Diane Foster to pay $10,000 in fines to the state and an additional $3,000 in damages to the lesbian couple, Jennie McCarthy and Melissa Erwin for “mental pain and suffering.” 

Additionally, the Giffords must provide sensitivity training to their staff, and prominently display a poster highlighting state anti-discrimination laws.

The Giffords’ attorney, Jim Trainor, told LifeSiteNews that the two-year-legal drama and resulting fines all stemmed from a single brief phone call in 2012 that caught his clients off guard.

“The entire interaction between the Complainants and the Giffords transpired during a two to three minute telephone conversation which, unknown to Mrs. Gifford, was being tape recorded,” Trainor said.

“After communicating the fact that they chose not to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies at the farm because to do so would violate the Giffords’ sincerely held beliefs (that God intended marriage to be between a man a woman only), Mrs. Gifford invited the couple to visit the farm to discuss handling their wedding reception, which the couple refused.” 

The Giffords draw a line, Trainor explained, between a ceremony that solemnizes a homosexual relationship and a reception that celebrates the union after the fact.  To participate in the former, they argue, would be a violation of their own religious beliefs, especially because marriage ceremonies on the farm typically take place in and around the couple’s home, where they live full-time and are raising their two children. 

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But the Giffords are willing to serve gay couples in other ways – for example, they allowed another lesbian couple to throw a birthday party for their adopted child on the farm.

Trainor said he believes the decision by DHR goes too far in that it seeks to regulate what the Giffords can or cannot do in their own private home, even though state law only requires “places of public accommodation” to adhere to anti-discrimination laws.

“They consider the farm their home,” Trainor said. “They live there, they work there, they raise their kids there.”

Trainor also said that the Judge and Commissioner should have taken into account the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling, which came down weeks before the DHR notified the Giffords of their decision.

“We're disappointed that neither the Administrative Law Judge nor the Commissioner considered the Gifford's Constitutional (1st Amendment) rights, including the right not to be compelled to participate in a ‘marriage’ ceremony which violates their own religious beliefs,” Trainor said. 

Trainor said he and the Giffords are evaluating their options for further legal action.

The Giffords could simply ask the DHR to reconsider their decision, but Trainor said he doubts that approach would be successful. In order to formally appeal the ruling the couple would have to go to the New York State Supreme Court. 

But there is another option: The Giffords could file a fresh lawsuit in either state or federal court challenging the constitutionality of the DHR ruling.

While religious liberty has been a hot topic in federal court lately, Trainor said New York’s state constitution “actually offers a lot” of protection when it comes to religious freedom. “Many people view it as more expansive than the U.S. Constitution in terms of religious freedoms.”

However, Trainor emphasized that the Giffords have not yet decided which avenue, if any, they are planning to take in terms of pursuing further legal action.

In the meantime, the Giffords will continue hosting wedding ceremonies and receptions at the farm, Trainor said. However, they are considering hiring a dedicated employee to handle the ceremonies in order to avoid having to directly participate in any future same-sex “weddings.”

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