Wednesday, December 6, 2000
British monarchy law challenged as
human rights violation
A story released today by the Associated Press reports that a British newspaper, The
Guardian, is filing court challenges to two legal pillars of the British monarchy on the
grounds that they violate human rights.
The Guardian, a pro-reform broadsheet that favors making Britain a republic, is
challenging the Act of Settlement and the Treason Felony Act -- pieces of legislation that
help define the status of the Royal Family
within the constitution.
The Act of Settlement of 1701 outlines the rules of royal succession and the powers of the
Crown. It bars non-Protestants, people married to non-Protestants, adopted children and
children born to unmarried parents from succeeding to the throne.
The Guardian said the two pieces of legislation it is challenging clash with Britain's new
Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Act, which came into effect in October, is designed to
bring Britain into line with the European Convention on Human Rights.
A total of 705 people aged between 18 and 35 were interviewed for the poll carried out by
the BVA Research group ahead of the Marriage Salon Exhibition, which will be held in Aris
between January 13 and 15. (AFP)
Wednesday, December 5, 2000
Attitudes about marriage are changing in
A story published today in the Times of India reports that
two out of three people in France believe the institution of marriage is coming back into
fashion, but almost a quarter no longer see it as a lifelong commitment, according to a
poll published on Sunday.
Sixty-five per cent of those participating in the survey said they tthink marriage is
returning to fashion while 21 per cent believe it is completely or largely outdated,
compared with 25 per cent in a similar poll four years ago.
But the numbers who believe marriage is a lifelong commitment have fallen to 76 per cent,
from 82 per cent in 1996.
Then, as now, only 37 per cent of the French feel that marriage possesses the same or
greater value it did 10 or 20 years ago, while 60 per cent believe it has less value.
Slightly more than half, 53 per cent, still believe marriage is more important than
partnerships of unmarried couples. But 40 per cent believe that "civil solidarity
pacts" of unmarried partners, as they are called here, are as important or more
important than traditional marriages.
Among single persons asked, 58 per cent said that they
intended to marry, including 5 per cent planning to tie the knot next year.
According to the story, the main motivations for marrying were - to found a family, to
have a big wedding, and for religious reasons, in that order of priority.
Fifteen per cent of singles said that they planned to set up home with a partner without
Friday, December 1, 2000
British labor minister says government
should not promote marriage as the ideal form of family
A story published today by the London Telegraph reports that Tessa Jowell, minister for
employment and women, chided the British government for promoting marriage as the ideal
form of family unit.
Intervening in the debate on family policy which has been
raging in the Labor Party, she says it would be wrong to make the offspring of single
mothers or cohabiting couples feel inferior.
"We would never want to advocate a family policy that made some children feel they
were first class children and others feel they were second class," she says in an
interview in The Telegraph. "Children thrive in a stable environment, being brought
up by parents who love them. I think in the 21st century families come in all shapes and
Jowell says she does not think that marriage is necessarily the best model. "Adults
have a range of ways in which they express their commitment. Governments do not bring up
children. I don't think parents want to be told what to do; they want to be given the
opportunity to choose what is right for them and their family."
The story predicts that her comments will infuriate some of her colleagues. In recent
months Paul Boateng, the Home Office minister, has been pushing for a forthcoming
consultation paper on the subject to advocate marriage as the ideal.
But other ministers, including Baroness Jay, the leader of the Lords, and Margaret Hodge,
an education minister, have refused to endorse the approach, fearing that it would
alienate single and cohabiting parents. They have also argued that it could leave
ministers open to an assault on their own lives.
The Tories said Miss Jowell's remarks showed that the Government no longer supported
traditional family values. Ann Widdecombe, the shadow home secretary, said last night:
"If this is what a Government minister is saying, it gives the lie to Tony Blair's
claims to be the party of the family."
Jowell insists that the Government is committed to children.
"Once you have children, you are responsible for them and it is perfectly right that
as a society we expect them to be." Jowell, who is married to David Mills, a
corporate lawyer, has two children and three stepchildren. She has been married once
Next week the Government will launch its long-awaited green paper on parental leave,
setting out proposals to extend maternity leave and pay and introduce paternity leave.
"There is very strong evidence indeed that women want longer away from work after
they have had a baby," Jowell says.
In April, Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, scrapped the married couples' tax allowance and
replaced it with a children's tax credit which will go to all parents. A green paper,
Supporting Families, published by the Home Office in 1998, stated: "The Government
believes that marriage provides a strong foundation for stable relationships. We do share
the belief of the majority of people that marriage provides the most reliable framework
for raising children."