Estonian same-sex partnership stalled after family campaigners presented 38,000 signatures
TALLINN, June 10, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The founder of Estonia’s pro-family movement said in an interview with a Polish Catholic television program that the country’s draft law on same-sex marriage will not go forward after his group presented the government with nearly 40,000 signatures defending traditional marriage. Law professor Varro Vooglaid told Polonia Christiana that presentation of the petition from the Estonian Foundation for Defense of Tradition and Family will not allow the homosexualist ideologues to frame the issue in terms of “human rights”.
Last month, the group presented a petition of 38,000 signatures to Estonia’s parliament to oppose all plans that may be put forward to re-define marriage to include same-sex partnerings. This, Vooglaid said, has shown the homosexualist lobby that there is going to be serious and organised opposition to their plans. The petition form was delivered to 580,000 households, in a country with a total population of 1.2 million.
Vooglaid called the petition, the largest in the country’s history since emancipation from the Soviet Union, an “historic event in Estonian politics”. Homosexualists had become used to having the only voice heard in public, but now, he said, “We have really managed to change the rules of the game.”
Vooglaid said that the government has indicated it will not at this time be moving forward with the draft law.
The homosexualist movement, he said, must portray themselves as champions of “human rights,” since their ideology has little support among the public and they know that they will never be successful using the democratic process.
Instead, they “frame it as a human rights issue, and say that human rights need to be recognised. And it’s not up to the people to choose whether we recognise human rights or not”.
He told Estonia’s parliamentarians, “We can’t allow them to define this as a human rights issue. Our constitution guarantees equality before the law. Absolutely every single person in the republic of Estonia has the right to marry and to found a family. Everyone without an exception.
“However, nobody has the right to demand the redefinition of the institution of the family and the institution of marriage, so as to get social recognition of their perverted lifestyle.”
The issue has been under scrutiny since 2011 when the Chancellor of Justice, Indrek Teder, requested that the Ministry of Justice introduce a civil partnership law. He said that examination of the constitution had found that the law could not exclude recognition of same-sex relationships. In August last year, the Reform Party and the Social democratic Party as well as the Centre Party helped to draft a bill to create same-sex civil partnerships, which was under consultation until October 2012.
The homosexualists, said Vooglaid, have fired back with attempts to intimidate their opposition. The petitioners’ employers received “very strongly worded letters” asking for Vooglaid and fellow members of the Foundation to be sacked or otherwise disciplined. Complaints were also made to the consumer protection board and even to police, accusing the group of “hate crimes.”
Vooglaid, however, said that such actions really only prove the point being made in their campaign. “We said that if they manage to apply their ideology to our society, teachers will lose their jobs unless they approve the homosexual agenda. And they of course say that we are lying,” he said.
“But by their very actions, they are confirming that we are absolutely correct. And of course we know from different countries all over Europe that’s exactly what’s happening.”
Vooglaid, a lawyer and professor of law at the country’s national university, told police that they could press charges of hate speech, but that there was no legal basis for prosecution and that the subsequent public proceedings would only reveal the real goals and methods of the homosexualist lobby.
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“It will make it even more clear that these are not just very nice people who are looking for more tolerance, but they are really radical fundamentalists who are ready to advance their goals by taking away the most basic rights from other citizens. Freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of belief.”
Part of the difficulty in many western countries, he said, has been the media’s siding with the homosexualist ideology. This has denied a voice to the majority of the public. While the media portrays the issue as one of human rights or equality, “for normal people, real people, life is very different. For them, their views are very different.”
“If you look at public opinion, if you look at public discussion, then the opinion of tens of thousands of people is almost never represented. It’s just a handful of people who get to express their ideas. And thereby they [the media] develop a completely twisted understanding of public opinion.”
The petition, however, has put the lie to the media myth, showing “the people in power,” as well as the public at large that there are “actually tens of thousands of people who value family … and who think that family and marriage may not be redefined.”
Moreover, the movement to preserve the natural family in law comes from the real grassroots, Vooglaid said. Homosexual activists are supported by very few on the ground. These groups, he said, call themselves citizens’ organisations, NGOs, “but the reality is that almost nobody supports them. No simple people support them with small donations.”
The most influential of the groups pushing for same-sex recognition in Estonia is the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association or ILGA, which is heavily supported by both the UN and the European Union. While ILGA Europe claims to be a grassroots NGO, they receive the bulk of their funding directly from grants from the European Commission. According to information IGLA made public, in 2012 they received a grant of €1,017,055 from the EU. The rest of their €1.95 million budget came from grants from the government of the Netherlands, George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Sigrid Rausing Trust, a UK organisation with similar goals.
Vooglaid also pointed to the direct intervention of other western countries, saying that three days after the petition was delivered to Estonia’s parliament, the embassies of the US, Canada, Britain and Austria hung the facades of their buildings in the capital Tallinn with rainbow flags as a public signal of their support for the homosexual agenda.
He said the action demonstrates that the homosexualist movement is really a form of “ideological occupation”.
“It’s not something that’s growing out of our own culture, out of our own people. It’s something that is being imposed on us. And we are not even left the possibility to have a say about it. We can’t choose whether to accept it or not to accept it,” he said.
“What they’re actually interested in is not the right to marry, it’s not about equal rights, it’s not about tolerance. It’s actually about social recognition of the homosexual lifestyle. Recognition from the state that the homosexual lifestyle is just as good as living a family life, and thereby redefining the cultural understanding of morality.”
He said that his group will continue to oppose the agenda: “We will do it very calmly. We will do it with great dignity, and with great respect for persons. But being tolerant and being respectful definitely do not mean that we need to give up our principles.”
“Let us understand that being tolerant is not about conformity. It’s not about giving up the principles that were passed to us by our forefathers, which have been at the foundation of our culture for hundreds of years.
“This is not tolerance. And if that’s the idea of tolerance, then we will be very happy to be intolerant.”
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Princeton’s Robert George: Are you ready to pay the price? The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over
ORLANDO, February 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- “It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel,” said Princeton Professor Robert George to a large crowd at the Legatus Summit in Orlando, Florida last weekend. Professor George added that people can still safely identify as “Catholic” as long as they don’t believe, or will at least be completely silent about, “what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life.”
He said “the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call ‘political correctness,’” will still grant a comfort to a Catholic ashamed of the Gospel, “or who is willing to act publicly as if he or she were ashamed.”
The Princeton professor, who has been a leader in the fight for life and marriage, reminded his audience of Christ’s words: “If anyone wants to be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me.” “We American Catholics, having become comfortable, had forgotten, or ignored, that timeless Gospel truth. There will be no ignoring it now,” he remarked.
Are we “prepared to give public witness to the massively politically incorrect truths of the Gospel, truths that the mandarins of an elite culture shaped by the dogmas of expressive individualism and me-generation liberalism do not wish to hear spoken?” he asked.
For Catholics, and Evangelicals in America, he said, “it is now Good Friday.” To a rousing standing ovation Professor George concluded:
The memory of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem has faded. Yes, he had been greeted—and not long ago—by throngs of people waving palm branches and shouting ‘Hosanna to the Son of David.’ He rode into the Jerusalem of Europe and the Jerusalem of the Americas and was proclaimed Lord and King. But all that is now in the past. Friday has come. The love affair with Jesus and his Gospel and his Church is over.
Fearing to place in jeopardy the wealth we have piled up, the businesses we have built, the professional and social standing we have earned, the security and tranquility we enjoy, the opportunities for worldly advancement we cherish, the connections we have cultivated, the relationships we treasure, will we silently acquiesce to the destruction of innocent human lives or the demolition of marriage? Will we seek to ‘fit in,’ to be accepted, to live comfortably in the new Babylon? If so, our silence will speak. Its words will be the words of Peter, warming himself by the fire: ‘Jesus the Nazorean? I tell you, I do not know the man.’
The saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes, integrally, the teachings of His church on the profound and inherent dignity of the human person and the nature of marriage as a conjugal bond—a one-flesh union….
The question of faith and fidelity that is put to us today is not in the form it was put to Peter—“surely you are you this man’s disciple”—it is, rather, do you stand for the sanctity of human life and the dignity of marriage as the union of husband and wife? These teachings are not the whole Gospel—Christianity requires much more than their affirmation. But they are integral to the Gospel—they are not optional or dispensable. To be an authentic witness to the Gospel is to proclaim these truths among the rest. The Gospel is, as St. John Paul the Great said, a Gospel of Life. And it is a Gospel of family life, too. And it is these integral dimensions of the Gospel that powerful cultural forces and currents today demand that we deny or suppress.
One day we will give an account of all we have done and failed to do. …
One thing alone will matter: let me say this with maximum clarity—whether we stood up for the truth, speaking it out loud and in public, bearing the costs of discipleship that are inevitably imposed on faithful witnesses to truth by cultures that turn away from God and his law. Or were we ashamed of the Gospel?
If we deny truths of the Gospel, we really are like Peter, avowing that “I do not know the man.” If we go silent about them, we really are like the other apostles, fleeing in fear. But when we proclaim the truths of the Gospel, we really do stand at the foot of the cross with Mary the Mother of Jesus and John the disciple whom Jesus loved. We show by our faithfulness that we are not ashamed of the Gospel. We prove that we are truly Jesus’s disciples, willing to take up his cross and follow him—even to Calvary.
But lest we fail the test, as perhaps many will do, let us remember that Easter is coming. Jesus will vanquish sin and death. We will experience fear, just as the apostles did—that is inevitable. Like Jesus himself in Gethsemane, we would prefer not to drink this cup. We would much rather be acceptable Christians, comfortable Catholics. But our trust in him, our hope in his resurrection, our faith in the sovereignty of his heavenly Father can conquer fear. By the grace of Almighty God, Easter is indeed coming. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel. Never be ashamed of the Gospel.
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Planned Parenthood investigator Daleiden refuses plea deal: ‘What we really want is an apology’
HOUSTON, February 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - This morning, Harris County prosecutor's office offered David Daleiden a plea deal. His legal team, in turn, made a counter-offer.
"The only thing we're going to accept right now is an apology," said Terry Yates, one of four attorneys who flanked Daleiden down the corridors of the courthouse as he visited two court rooms to face felony and misdemeanor charges.
He confirmed an offer had been made but was unlikely to be accepted.
Instead, Yates said that a hearing before Judge Brock Thomas of Texas District 338 had been scheduled for March 28. "At that time, we anticipate filing a couple of motions" asking that all charges be dismissed at once. "We believe the indictments are factually and legally insufficient."
"The old Texas expression 'all hat and no cattle' - that's what we believe these indictments are. There's not much to them," he said.
Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society reiterated that stance during a press conference co-hosted by LifeSiteNews at 11 a.m. local time.
When asked if Daleiden would plead guilty to lesser charges offered by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, Breen replied, "At this point, no."
"What we really want is an apology," Breen said, standing next to fellow counsel Briscoe Cain, Texas attorney for Operation Rescue. "He deserves an apology...He is innocent."
His legal team felt certain he would prevail on the substance of the charges without admitting guilt to any of them.
"The reality is David is a modern day hero," Jared Woodfill, another Daleiden attorney, told LifeSiteNews inside the courthouse. "He has exposed the wrongdoing that has been occurring at abortion clinics all across this country. And the fact that he's here today is a miscarriage of justice."
"He will be vindicated," he said.
The 27-year-old Daleiden appeared unflappable - smiling, well-groomed, wearing a black jacket, blue shirt, and black tie as he spoke briefly with reporters, including LifeSiteNews.
"I'm very grateful for all the support from the public, especially from the people of Houston," he said, some of whom held handmade signs that said "I Stand with Sandra and David" as he presented himself for booking and paid bail this morning.
Attorneys did not disclose the terms of the agreement prosecutors had offered. If convicted, Daleiden and fellow pro-life investigative journalist Sandra Merritt face up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
However, the charges could be dismissed at any time. LifeSiteNews delivered the first batch of signatures, more than 106,000, on its petition to the DA's office asking that all charges against Daleiden be dropped at once.
If that fails? "We're ready to go to trial," Woodfill told LifeSiteNews.
First 100K petitions to drop charges against Daleiden delivered: ‘let’s double that’
HOUSTON, February 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Pro-life leaders have presented more than 106,000 signatures to the Harris County district attorney's office, demanding that charges be dropped against David Daleiden.
It was the first batch of signatures to be dropped off in LifeSiteNews' ongoing petition. It asks prosecutor Devon Anderson to dismiss the charges facing Daleiden and his fellow investigator Sandra Merritt, which could result in 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
"Houston, we do have a problem," said Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition at a press conference at 11 a.m. local time.
"We are standing in solidarity and say, 'When you attack David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, you are attacking us and our community,'" Rev. Mahoney continued. "Do not proceed with these unjust indictments."
Congressman Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, sent a statement to the gathering saying, "Instead of society persecuting the truth tellers, Planned Parenthood needs to answer for their gruesome practices," as well as apologizing to adoptive families like his own, which the abortion provider has "prevented from being whole."
The local indictment, made by the Houston-area grand jury last Monday, has drawn national coverage as the first skirmish in a war between Planned Parenthood and those who sought to expose their practices.
"In delivering these petitions, I am representing more than 100,000 people who demand that these charges against this 27-year-old man and his fellow investigator be dropped at once," said LifeSiteNews reporter Lisa Bourne.
"The next move is up to the Harris County DA's office," she said, reading a statement prepared by LifeSiteNews. "These petitions prove that the world is watching."
"The indictment is another example of Planned Parenthood's bare-fisted intimidation tactics," she added, similar to campaigns taken against former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Andy Parrish, PR director for LifeSiteNews, who was in Houston with Bourne, said he was honored to tell David of the 106,000 LifeSite petition signers who were standing with him. "These signatures are just the beginning. The coalition standing behind David is growing. We've got 100,000, but let's double that."
David Daleiden addressed the crowd alongside two of his attorneys, Peter Breen and Briscoe Cain, and thanked all those who showed their support for him during his latest legal showdown.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone at LifeSiteNews and everyone who shared the petition, who signed it, and made it possible to deliver that today," Daleiden told LifeSiteNews. "It means a lot to me, and to Sandra, and to the Center for Medical Progress. Thank you for your faithfulness and for standing up for us."
He hoped everyone would remain united in demanding justice be done - and, like Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue, hopes that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast be indicted.
"I firmly believe that if we stay the course, if we stay together, we will bring about a day when there is no longer a price tag on human life," Daleiden said.
During the windy 45-minute-long press conference, speakers at the rostrum defended Daleiden's undercover journalism tactics in the face of sometimes hostile questions from the established press.
"No one can deny that this was the number one investigative journalism story of 2015," Rev. Mahoney said, citing statistics of the story's impact on the mainstream media.
In the new media environment of 2016, someone does not need a degree from Northwestern or Columbia to be a journalist, he said.
"He broke one of the biggest stories of the year," agreed John Hawkins of Right-Wing News, who sent in a written statement to the conference. Pressing charges against him sends a message to conservatives and Christians: "Sit down and shut up, or this just might happen to you."
"If this were a meat-packing plant investigation, there would be no question about his integrity," said Alexandra Snyder, executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation. "He would be universally lauded as a hero. I think he's a hero...for getting the truth out."
"In the meantime, we're going to do everything we can do to stand with David," she said, "and see justice prevail."