Hilary White, Rome Correspondent


Italian MPs introduce bill to protect parents’ constitutional rights against ‘gender ideology’

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, April 9, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Italian Deputies Eugenia Roccella and Alessandro Pagano have introduced a bill in Parliament that would establish the rights of parents to make decisions about their children’s education, particularly on moral issues.

The move comes in response to increasing concerns by some deputies, parent groups, and civil rights organizations that the government is being co-opted by organized activists to push the so-called “gender ideology” in schools and other Italian institutions.

The purpose of the bill, Roccella said at a press conference, is to “reaffirm and ensure the fundamental right to educational choice of parents, as set out, inter alia, in the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.” 

Which means in practice, she said, that in all school activities that “relate directly or indirectly to the issues related to relationships, affectivity and sexuality education, and other ethically sensitive issues in general, the parents are informed, who must give their consent in writing to each student.” 

The schools must also provide alternative activities for those who choose not to take advantage of extra-curricular activities, “without giving rise to any form of discrimination.”

Roccella is a former feminist activist and past state secretary for health who has long been a champion of life and family causes in Italy’s Parliament, most recently against the proposed “anti-homophobia” law. She is a deputy with the newly-formed Nuovo Centro Destra party (NCD, “New Centre-Right”).

Recently, she and a group of deputies and others have grown increasingly concerned over the sudden incursions of the homosexualist movement’s ideologies into government institutions, particularly through the Ufficio Nazionale Anti Discriminazioni, (UNAR, National Anti-Discrimination Bureau) a body set up by the government to ensure “equality of treatment and the removal of discrimination based on race and ethnic origin.”  

Roccella took a leading role in a group of deputies that stopped the UNAR from distributing pro-homosexual school pamphlets, though some city-based initiatives have moved forward in Milan, Turin, Venice and Florence at the behest of local homosexualist organizations. 

She explained that the bill is in response to actions taken by the UNAR. Although UNAR’s written prerogatives say that it must act “in full independence of judgment and condition of impartiality,” it has effectively become the strong arm of the gender ideology movement in government, using the law to enforce conformity to a new and alien set of ethics. 

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Roccella explained in an interview with the website Papaboys 3.0, that the UNAR has been co-opted by gender ideologues to press their aims onto Italian society with the force of law. The UNAR accomplishes this with a “working group made ​​up of 29 homosexual associations,” with no other groups represented to “ensure diversity of opinion and judgment criteria.” 

“In this way,” Roccella said, “the UNAR began working independently, to launch the dissemination of brochures such as the ‘Educating for diversity in school,’ which was brought to children without any permission, either from the Ministry of Education, or from the Ministry of Social Policy and completely excluding parents of students.” 

Roccella pointed to two UNAR documents, issued in January this year, that have formed the basis of the push into schools, and an attempt to control the message to the public by censoring journalists. These documents were created through collaboration with gender and homosexual activists at the Council of Europe.

The two documents are part of the “National Strategy for the Prevention and the Fight Against Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (2013-2015),” and “Communicating without Prejudice,” which threatened unspecified professional sanctions, and even possible jail time, for those journalists who portrayed homosexuality or “transgenderism” in anything but a positive light. These two documents together, Roccella said, lay out “a real code of political correctness, which masks the reality of self-censorship and forms a platform of ideological conformism.”

The UNAR’s documents on the schools included their stated intention to “instill” in children “the concept that there is no male and female, mother and father, and that the idea that the family is formed by a man and a woman is the result of a homophobic culture.”

These assertions in the two papers, Roccella said, contradict the constitution in its definition of the family – which calls it a “natural society based on marriage” – and undermine motherhood by supporting the concept of the paid “surrogate mother.” Roccella has been a vocal opponent of the push to legalize surrogacy in Parliament, calling it “uterus for rent.” She said that since the UNAR has started issuing its demands, Italy is now seeing the “paradox” of institutions established by the government attempting to ban expression of the country’s own constitution.

She also commented on the case of now-former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, who was “shown the door by his company” after it was revealed that in 2008 he donated $1,000 to support California’s Proposition 8, a referendum that opposed “gay marriage.” Eich, she said, was a victim of a campaign of “undemocratic blackmail” by organizations that “do not tolerate freedom of thought.”

“Faced with so much illiberal violence,” she said, “I want to reaffirm that I am personally opposed to gay marriage, and that in Eich’s shoes I would also have given my support to the battle for the defense of marriage between a man and a woman.”

The intervention of Roccella and other deputies to defend the rights of parents in the nation’s schools is a timely one, said Stefano Zecchi, an author and professor of philosophy at the University of Milan. In an interview with Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, Zecchi said that the extreme left is using these “gender” ideologues to force the public school system to act as a conduit into the minds of young Italians, breaking down foundational civilizational concepts like the family, based on marriage, and replacing them with a foreign, utopian ideology.  

“Today in politics there is great difficulty in making sense of cultural differences, so the secularism of the left has just delivered their ideological arsenal on the theme of the abolition of genders. To say that genders are no longer male and female, but even 56 different types becomes the battle for political identity,” Zecchi said.

“As the original leftists truly believed that Communism would save the human race and recognized in it an irreproachable morality, so today they argue that gender prejudice is brutalization.”  

For this end, Zecchi said, “the school is particularly targeted by these insane ideologies” that are “the result of the demolition of the father figure that comes from the 70s.” These ideologies, he said, are moving politics into the realm of Darwinian “biologism,” an ideology that is totalitarian at its root.  

Ultimately, he said, the logic will lead to the total abolition of any and all sexual restraint in the public sphere: “One day we will come to defend the pedophile – who is after all, a man who pursues his sexual preference – and even incest.”

Zecchi echoed Roccella, saying that under the current law “freedom of education” is a constitutional principle, but that this right of parents to guide their children’s education is coming under direct attack “by a ‘state education’ that would be imposed by the ideologues of gender.” Teachers should be warned that, while they have a duty to stop genuine bullying, “which creates true personal tragedies,” the current push is an attempt to use bullying as a pretext for inserting the “violent ideology” of the extreme left.

“This is becoming a regime and in fact everyone is afraid to fight back, even if only to say that the father is a man and a woman is the mother has become an act of ‘courage.’” 

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BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Steve Weatherbe

Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

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By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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