WELFARE REFORMS GIVE MORE MONEY TO PROMOTE MARRIAGE AND ABSTINENCE   A divided House of Representatives approved welfare legislation Thursday that includes up to $300 million per year of funding for strategies that promote marriage and extends a $50 million sexual abstinence program. The bill now goes to the Senate where it will probably be watered down unless the Republicans are willing to agree to Democrat concessions. The Democrats are looking for more money for child care, education and training.   EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH EXPECTED TO PROCEED IN EUROPE The European pro-family group Euro-Fam reported yesterday that on Wednesday the European Parliament did not adopt an ethical amendment in their plenary session. As a result, the Council Common position remains: “All the research activities carried out under the Sixth Framework Programme must be carried out in compliance with fundamental ethical principles.” These principles allow for embryonic stem cell research. and say that national legislation should not interfere with it. Euro-fam says that this whole situation is in violation of terms of both the EC Treaty and the EU Treaty. Last year, Euro-fam noted, embryonic stem cell advocates were promised funding for “research on human embryos deriving from miscarriages, abortions, or so-called ‘surplus’ embryos.”  ABORTION DEFUNDING MEASURE PASSES HOUSE, LOOKS FOR GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE “The Alaska state House approved a bill Tuesday that could limit taxpayer funding for abortions,” reported Associated Press. “The measure tightens the definition of so-called “therapeutic” abortions, which are abortions the state Medicaid program is constitutionally required to fund because of a state Supreme Court ruling. The bill has already passed in the Senate.  SAME-SEX BENEFITS MEASURE MAY KILL SALVATION ARMY PROGRAM A Salvation Army centre in Portland, Maine may have to close its seniors program because the openly lesbian mayor said she will cut government funding for it if the Christian ministry refuses to implement her city’s same-sex benefits policy for employees. Ironically this same centre is one that President George Bush used in March last year for a photo op to promote his faith-based initiative plan. Portland City Hall’s phone number is (207) 874-8300. Mayor Geraghty’s e-mail address is: [email protected]   CONGRESS CONSIDERS GIVING FREEDOM OF SPEECH BACK TO CLERGY The U.S. Congress is considering a law that, if passed, will give pastors more freedom to comment on “political” issues without running the risk of forfeiting their church’s charitable status. The Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act, H.R. 2357 has so far received the support of more than 115 members of Congress from both parties.