Top French court rejects gay marriage appeal

By Reuters Staff
January 28, 2011

gay

France’s ban on same-sex marriages was upheld by the country’s constitutional authority on Friday, in a ruling that relieves the government of any obligation to grant gays the wedding rights enjoyed by heterosexuals.

Bashir plans Islamic law if Sudan splits, defends flogging woman

By Reuters Staff
December 19, 2010

sudan (Photo: Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses a rally in Gedaref, December 19, 2010/stringer)

Sudan will adopt an Islamic constitution if the south splits away in a referendum next month, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Sunday. The vote on independence for south Sudan is scheduled to start in three weeks and was promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended a civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the south, where most follow traditional beliefs and Christianity.

European human rights court faults Ireland on abortion ban

By Reuters Staff
December 16, 2010

echr (Photo: European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, January 30, 2009/Vincent Kessler)

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Ireland on Thursday for stopping a Lithuanian cancer sufferer from terminating a pregnancy, in a blow to the predominantly Catholic country and its tough abortion laws. In a final ruling, the rights court found Ireland had not respected the privacy and family rights of the Lithuanian woman, who was living in Ireland and feared a pregnancy could trigger a relapse of her cancer, in remission at the time.

U.S. appeals court hears key California gay marriage case

By Reuters Staff
December 6, 2010

marriage 1Three federal appellate judges considering whether to allow gay marriage in California hear arguments on Monday in a case many expect to land in the U.S. Supreme Court and set national policy. California voters, with a reputation for social liberalism, shocked the United States in 2008 when they narrowly approved the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage only months after the top state court opened the door to same-sex weddings.

Pakistan Pres. Zardari barred from pardoning Christian woman

By Reuters Staff
November 29, 2010

bibi 1 (Photo: Pprotesters demand the release of Asia Bibi at a Karachi rally, November 25, 2010/Akhtar Soomro)

A Pakistani court has barred President Asif Ali Zardari from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death on charges of insulting Islam, in a case that has sparked criticism over the country’s blasphemy law. Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of four, requested a pardon from the president after a lower court sentenced her to death on Nov 8 in a case stemming from a village dispute.

Canada’s anti-polygamy laws go on trial in Vancouver

By Reuters Staff
November 22, 2010

jeffsA Canadian court opened hearings on Monday into whether anti-polygamy laws violate constitutional protections of religious freedom. The court is wrestling with civil liberties and moral questions surrounding a breakaway sect of the Mormon church that has practiced plural marriages at its compound in rural British Columbia since the late 1940s.

Islamic finance in Gulf needs regulation boost

By Reuters Staff
November 10, 2010

karachi marketFrom Australia to South Africa, governments are scrambling to change the law to accommodate the $1 trillion Islamic finance industry, whose avoidance of toxic debt has looked increasingly attractive since the global crisis. But in the Gulf Arab region, birthplace of Islam and cradle of Islamic finance, governments have taken a more passive approach, which experts say is slowing the industry’s growth.

Top Belgian Catholic vows silence after uproar

October 29, 2010

leonardBelgium’s Roman Catholic leader has sworn off public remarks until Christmas after outraging public opinion twice this month with jarring comments about AIDS and a call for mercy for retired paedophile priests.

Brazil’s ugly abortion reality lost in election noise

October 20, 2010

brazil abortionIt was a little-noticed headline amid the daily crime, violence and accidents in Rio de Janeiro’s rough outskirts — Adriana de Souza Queiroz, 26, dead after a clandestine abortion went wrong. Queiroz, who scraped a living handing out pamphlets and was 3 or 4 months pregnant, last month became one of the some 300 Brazilian women who die each year after back street abortions.

Polish bishops call IVF “younger sister of eugenics”

By Reuters Staff
October 19, 2010

cloneBishops of Poland’s influential Roman Catholic Church have branded in vitro fertilization (IVF) “the younger sister of eugenics” in a letter aimed at swaying lawmakers ahead of a parliamentary debate.