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U.S. News Archive
September 06 - September 12, 1999





This page contains news for the period Monday, September 06, 1999 through Sunday, September 12, 1999.



<<   September 1999  >>

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Saturday, September 11, 1999

Church won't face charges of bias

Case involved unmarried worker fired at day care center

According to an article appearing on September 11, 1999, in the Detroit Free Press, state civil rights officials in Michigan will drop discrimination charges against a Benton Harbor church which fired a day care worker in 1992 for living with her fiancÚ.

State officials determined that the "evidence was overwhelming" that the day care was a ministry of the church. As such, the church's prohibition on unmarried cohabitation by employees is permitted under the First Amendment protection of religion, state officials said.

Louis Green, deputy director of the Department of Civil Rights, confirmed late Friday that the complaint, filed on behalf of former day care worker Connie Buels, will be dropped.

Buels, who worked part-time at the center for less than a month, was seeking compensation for lost wages, humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish she claimed resulted from the firing.

Assistant Attorney General Laura McMahon Lynch originally believed the day care operation was merely a business, and that Michigan law prohibited discrimination based on marital status. But depositions established that the day care was a central part of the Fairplain's local work.


Thursday, September 9, 1999

Cohabiting couples and Catholicism

According to a news release issued by the Associated Press on September 9, 1999, the U.S. Catholic bishops' committee on marriage and family has issued a report on cohabiting couples, which many priests consider the most troublesome issue in premarital counseling.

The wire story referred to a 1995 nationwide survey by Creighton University which showed 43.6 percent of Catholic couples were living together when they began premarital counseling. The report terms this ``a fairly recent phenomenon.''

Many dioceses ask priests to urge cohabiting couples to live apart before the wedding, the report says, but under canon law a couple cannot be denied a church ceremony even if they refuse.

The report said that in the past the Catholic Church worried that public weddings for cohabiting couples would scandalize the community. But the report says the social stigma associated with unmarried cohabitation has lessened.

Click here for more.


Tuesday, September 7, 1999

California Prohibits Businesses from Using Marital Status in Mailing Address

California Governor Gray Davis signed a bill today that prohibits businesses from referring to an individual's marital status in a mailing address. Senate Bill 185 was authored by Senator Steve Peace.

Mortgage companies often list a buyer's name followed by his or her marital status, i.e. an unmarried man, an unmarried man, etc. Other companies then use these buyer's lists without removing the reference to marital status. As a result, mail coming to the buyer from a variety of businesses may be addressed to Jane Doe, an unmarried woman, followed by her address.

Peace felt this practice was an invasion of privacy and also a possible safety threat to unmarried women who may be targeted by wrongdoers because of their perceived vulnerability.

Any business which violates the new law is subject to a civil penalty of up to $250 for each violation.


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