January 31, 2002
Study shows more babies are born
outside of marriage in Britain
A story released today by BBC News reports that according to a research done by
Britains Office for National Statistics, a large number of British couples think
starting a family is more important than getting married.
In Great Britain, two in five babies are born outside wedlock. This compares to one in
ten children born outside marriage, 20 years ago.
The Family Planning Association (FPA) said the survey shows serial monogamy is more
popular than marriage.
An FPA spokeswoman said: "The idea of the nuclear family as we know it is in the
"The average lifetime of a marriage is nine years.
"I don't see why children born out of wedlock should be an issue for concern as
long as they are brought up safely by adults who love them.
"Society is evolving and we need to find ways of supporting these new kinds of
The National Family and Parenting Institute said the survey findings confirmed society
had seen a major shift in recent decades.
"In the 21st century, the family comes in many shapes and sizes and it is
important to remember this diversity in planning and policy-making for the needs of
families." said NFPIs Chief executive Mary MacLoed.
The survey found more than seven million people live on their own, accounting for a
third of all households, compared with just two million in 1961.
It also concludes the population is becoming older, with predictions that a fifth of
Britons will be aged 65 or over by 2025.
A new tolerance to unmarried
An article written by Bettina Arndt for the Sydney Morning Herald tackles the new
acceptance by society to unmarried fathers. The complete article can be viewed by clicking
on the newslink below:
Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Are parental rights available to
unmarried British dads?
An article written today by Louisa Young for the British paper The Guardian tackles the
issue of parental rights of an unmarried father. In her quest to write a novel, she
stumbled into a fact that a number of unmarried British fathers may have come to overlook;
the reality that they do not have an automatic right as a parent. The full text of her
article can be read by clicking on the link below:
Italian papers criticize papal plea
A story released today by Agency France Presse reports that the attack on divorce by
Pope John Paul II has sparked an angry response in Italy's press and put officials in
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conservative government on the defensive. The head of
the Roman Catholic Church called on lawyers to become conscientious objectors to marriage
break-up and to refuse to represent clients seeking divorce.
The secretary of the Italian bishops conference, Giuseppe Betori today said the appeal,
which called divorce "an evil" and "contrary to justice", was not only
directed at Italy where divorce became legal in 1970.
Italy's lawyers' federation was equally critical of the pontiff's remarks, with its
president Emilio Nicola Buccino remarking that it was "inconceivable" for
lawyers to betray the law.
But Italy's most influential broadsheet Corriere della Sera compared the 81-year-old
pontiff to the Taliban and criticized him as fundamentalist.
"With all due respect due to a great pope ... his appeal for conscientious
objection against divorce ... can be compared to the Taliban's extreme resistance in
Afghanistan," said the paper in an editorial.
La Stampa argued that many Catholics who do not see family life as "an obligation
or a prison, but a choice of love and responsibility" could take offence and said the
plight of children facing quarreling parents who refuse to separate was not even being
The paper said that rather than go back 30 years, Italy's legislation needed updating.
In 20 years the number of divorces has more than doubled, mostly in more affluent
northern Italy, jumping from 30,000 in 1980 to 65,000 in 1999, according to the latest
Equal Opportunities Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo, a Catholic member of Berlusconi's
Forza Italia married to a Catholic divorcee, also took a soft line, interpreting the papal
plea as "an appeal supporting the family and an invitation to reflect on the meaning
"With divorces continuously on the rise, something must be basically wrong with
our society and we should see what that is," she added.
On the other hand, Francesca Martini, family expert from the formerly separatist
Northern League, a junior partner in Berlusconi's coalition government, welcomed the papal
admonition, calling "divorce a move which is being abused".
Unmarried fathers to protest
discriminatory Irish laws
A story released
today by Online.ie reports that the Unmarried Fathers of Ireland group is going to mount a
protest outside the Dail to bring attention to what they say is the blatant discrimination
against male parents by Irish laws.
UFI, which claims to have 20,000 men
aligned to it, said the constitution focuses on safeguarding the family while ignoring the
rights of fathers who choose not to marry.
It said the government must
implement UN conventions on the issue of separations and child access.