Christine Dhanagom

New York Times op-ed: Cohabitation can lead to divorce

Christine Dhanagom
Christine Dhanagom
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April 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The belief that living together before marriage helps to avoid divorce is “contradicted by experience,” says a New York Times Op-Ed by clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay, published this past Saturday.

Jay, a specialist in young adult development, professes to be “neither for or against” cohabitation, but offers a searing critique of the practice, which she says is becoming “a norm” among young adults. According to her article, the phenomenon has increased by more than 1500% since 1960, when there were about 450,000 unmarried couples living together. There are now over 7.5 million such couples.

Recent studies have indicated that there is a causal relationship between the rise in divorce that has accompanied the rise in cohabitation, says Jay. In the past, she notes, some researchers have rejected the suggestion that cohabiting can actually cause divorce, attributing the correlation between the two to “selection, or the idea that cohabitors were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce.”

Drawing from research and from her own experience working with young adults, Jay argues that there is actually something internal to the practice of living together that can put a future marriage on shaky grounds.

The decision to live together is often one that couples “slide” into simply because it is economical or convenient, she says. After moving in, they feel “locked in” because of all the entanglements of living together, such as co-ownership of furniture or pets, which can in turn lead to a mentality of sliding unreflectively into marriage.

Jay cites the situation of one her clients, a 32-year-old woman she calls “Jennifer,” who lived together with her boyfriend for four years, married him, and was looking for a divorce lawyer less than a year later.

“I felt like I was on this multiyear, never-ending audition to be his wife,” Jennifer had told Jay. “We had all this furniture. We had our dogs and all the same friends. It just made it really, really difficult to break up. Then it was like we got married because we were living together once we got into our 30s.”

“I’ve had other clients who also wish they hadn’t sunk years of their 20s into relationships that would have lasted only months had they not been living together,” Jay writes. “Others want to feel committed to their partners, yet they are confused about whether they have consciously chosen their mates. Founding relationships on convenience or ambiguity can interfere with the process of claiming the people we love.”

Studies have also revealed that men and women tend to go into a cohabiting situation with different mentalities, she notes, with women seeing it as a “step towards marriage” and men often viewing it as “a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment.”

“This gender asymmetry is associated with negative interactions and lower levels of commitment even after the relationship progresses to marriage,” she says.

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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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Mozambique scraps ban on homosexual acts

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Mozambique's 130-year-old law banning homosexual activity was scrapped when revisions to the African country's penal code came into effect last week.

The revised code, which was announced last December by then president Armando Guebuza, also legalizes abortion-on-demand in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, or up to 16 weeks in the case of rape.

The colonial-era penal code put in place by Portugal in 1886 held that anyone "who habitually engages in vices against nature" could be punished by up to 3 years of hard labor. However, no one has been prosecuted under the statute since Mozambique gained independence in 1975.

Lifting the ban is seen by activists as more of a symbolic victory rather than an acknowledgement that homosexual activity is acceptable to Mozambican society, with one such activist pointing out that foreign influence played a large part in the government's decision to change the law.

Homosexual activist Dercio Tsandzana told Agence France-Presse that while there was little pressure and even less public discussion promoting homosexual "rights" within the country, "the government instead abides by the external pressure put by some embassies and foreign donors."

"Most Mozambicans don't deny homosexuality, but one can't say either that it is accepted," Tsandzana said.

Homosexual acts are illegal, with varying degrees of sanction, in 40 out of 53 African countries, according to a survey by the International Gay and Lesbian Association.

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the country, which counts about 30 percent of the population as Catholic, have long denounced the intrusion of foreign organizations that promote agendas against life and the family.

Ghanaian Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu, of the Konongo-Mampong diocese, told LifeSiteNews in October at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome that the West's pro-homosexual foreign aid policies are destroying his country's culture.

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Bishop Osei-Bonsu said countries such as America and Britain will not give his country financial assistance unless it is willing to redefine marriage to include homosexuals.

“These countries want to give us aid, but on condition that we respect what they call ‘gay rights.’ In other words, we should make it possible for men to marry men,” he said. “That goes against our Ghanaian and African cultures.”

At last summer's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden both said African countries need to make themselves more "gay-friendly" if they want to attract more aid, talent, and investment from Western nations.

“There are certain common ingredients to success in the 21st century that have become self-evident,” VP Biden said in a speech August 5.  “The need for economic integration; a court system that adjudicates disputes fairly.  A commitment to invest in all of a society’s people and respect their rights, because countries that respect citizens’ equal rights no matter what their gender or religion, no matter who they love, tend to be the … most attractive to attracting international talent and international investment.”

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LifeSiteNews staff

People with disabilities take center stage at major pro-life rally in Dublin

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Thousands and thousands of people cheered people with disabilities and their families at a major pro-life rally in Dublin on Saturday, which heard that unborn babies with a disability should receive special protection and support, and not become targets for abortion. Garda estimates put the number of the crowd between 25,000 - 30,000. This exceeded all expectations of the original estimation of 10,000. It shows the Irish people are proud to be pro-life!

Organizers also vowed to ensure that pro-life voters would make their views heard in the ballot box at the next general election, which will take place before March 2016.

Those attending the Rally for Life, which marched from Parnell Square to the Dail, held posters supporting the ‘Every Life Matters’ theme of this year’s Rally, and said that legalizing abortion on disability grounds is the worst possible form of discrimination.

Anne Trainer, whose little boy Kevin has Down syndrome, told the crowd that offering abortion for any form of a disability is a lethal form of discrimination, and warned that Ireland could follow Britain’s failure to protect its most vulnerable children, with 90% of babies with Down syndrome being aborted before birth.  

“Why are Amnesty International calling for Ireland’s abortions laws to be changed and claiming abortion is a “human right?” What is humane about aborting a baby simply because they have an extra set of chromosomes?” said Ms Trainer. The biggest cheer of the day was given to Mary Bridget Kelly who has Down syndrome and who told the crowd that "people with special needs have a right to life."

The Rally attendees were told that since Amnesty now supported the death penalty for unborn children it was time for the pro-life majority to 'abandon Amnesty' in favor of genuine human rights organizations.

Mandy Dunne of the support group Every Life Counts also addressed the Rally. Her daughter Muireann was diagnosed with Trisomy 13 before birth, and doctors described her as ‘incompatible with life’ and suggested abortion to Mandy. She says:

“I felt those words took her life from me there and then. We were told we wouldn't find anyone who had lived with this condition, and it was suggested that I end my pregnancy. I was made [to] feel I wasn’t carrying a beautiful little girl, that she was something that didn't even have the right to be considered as a life, dismissed with suggestions of a termination. But Muireann went on to live with us after birth for 6 weeks, and she knew nothing but love. Every child deserves to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their diagnosis. Every sick child deserves extra protection and extra love."

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that people attending the Rally were looking ahead to Election 2016 and that a growing number of experienced activists were determined that pro-life voters would be engaged and informed ahead of polling day. “The Rally is a real catalyst for growth and activism and a lot of that focus will be on Election 2016 and on ensuring that politicians understand that the majority of people do not want abortion on demand legalised in Ireland,” she said.

“The truth is that there is no public clamour to see abortion legalised. Last month, Labour’s Aodhán Ó Riordáin said that a vote for Labour was a vote to Repeal the 8th amendment yet Labour continue to languish in the polls at just 7%. The pro-life movement is more organised and energised than ever before and we need to ensure that those politicians who broke the pro-life promises they made in 2011 are made to answer.”

The Rally for Life is Ireland’s premier pro-life event which brings thousands onto the street every year. “It’s a huge celebration of life, with face-painting and balloons and music and there’s a great festive atmosphere, but the Rally also sends a powerful pro-life message to the city, to the public, and to the government – and this year’s message is that Ireland should continue to protect the right to life of unborn children with disabilities,” said Clare Molloy of Youth Defence, one of the Rally organizers. 

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“Most Irish people would be shocked to learn that legalising abortion for babies with a disability leads to these horrifying statistics of 90% of babies with Down Syndrome being aborted*, and most people of goodwill believe that we should provide better support to people with disabilities rather than simply eliminating them before birth.  We’re seeing the number of women travelling for abortion to Britain fall, we’re seeing more and more young people join the pro-life movement, and we’re seeing that there is always a better answer than abortion,” she said. “The government needs to respect the most fundamental right of all for people with disabilities, the right to life.”

The Rally for Life is organized by Youth Defence, the Life Institute and Precious Life. Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life, who won a major victory in the Belfast County Court this week when harassment charges were overturned, received huge a cheer from the crowd when she appeared to speak on the stage and said she was opening a clinic to offer women life-affirming alternatives to abortion opposite the Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Belfast.

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Lisa Bourne

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US Episcopal Church faces backlash after approving gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church gave the green light last week for clergy to perform same-sex “weddings,” in a heavily-debated fundamental change set to come in the door incrementally.  

As of November 1 of this year homosexual couples will have the right to be “married” in the church, the result of new liturgies for same-sex couples approved Wednesday at the denomination’s General Convention in Salt Lake City.

The bishops also accepted changing the church’s canons (rules) governing marriage, to make them gender neutral, thus replacing the terms “man and woman” with “couple.”

Episcopal clergy however, will be allowed to refuse to perform a homosexual “marriage” with the promise they would not be penalized, and individual bishops were also given the right to refuse to allow same-sex ceremonies to take place in their diocese.

The compromise is angering Episcopalians on both sides of the issue, with liberal factions potentially trying to block the plan and insist on the immediate introduction of same-sex “marriage” with no way for dioceses to opt out, and conservatives likely to reach out to overseas leaders in the wider Anglican Communion for help in getting the church to stop.

The leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church, released a statement expressing his “deep concern” over the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution to change the definition of marriage.

“Its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.”

Blessings for homosexual unions were first approved at the denomination’s 2012 convention, along with acceptance of transgender clergy. The Episcopal Church still maintained at the time that marriage was an exclusive life-long covenant of one man and one woman, as held in the church’s Book of Common Prayer.

While several Episcopal bishops defended the Biblical definition of marriage at this year’s convention, the majority of bishops argued that the provisional and trial rites would expand the traditional teaching about marriage, without changing the church’s underlying text or doctrine of marriage.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, was among those at the convention who said homosexual sexual intimacy was morally acceptable and should be blessed in faithful covenanted relationships, stating, “I think it is time for us to do this.”

Robinson, whose 2003 elevation to bishop was a key factor in the denomination’s later split, said, “Gays and lesbians are living out their lives in holy ways,” and changing the church’s rules on marriage “allows us to recognize this,” to “declare how far we have come.”

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In response to an inquiry for comment on the Episcopal bishops’ resolution accepting homosexual “marriage,” the Anglican Church in North America directed LifeSiteNews to the church’s recent response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual “marriage,” which said in part, “The Anglican Church in North America only authorizes and only performs marriages between one man and one woman.” 

Leaders of the Anglican Global South, a grouping of 24 of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion, issued a statement criticizing the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution as another unilateral decision taken without consideration for the Anglican Communion, ecumenical and interfaith relations and the mission of the church worldwide.

“This Resolution clearly contradicts the Holy Scriptures and God’s plan for creation as He created humankind as man and woman to complement each other physically and emotionally,” the Global South statement said.

“The church is intended by its Lord to be the holy leaven to shape society by its spiritual and moral values in line with God’s design,” it continued. “But sadly, by this action of (The Episcopal Church), the church gives way to the society to alter and shape its values. In other words the church is losing its distinctiveness as salt and light in this world.”

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