15 December 2017



A public petition calling for the legal definition of marriage to remain unchanged has been presented to 10 Downing Street. The 500,000-name petition, which was organised by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), will be kept open by C4M because more concerned citizens are signing it every day.

Dr Sharon James, a spokeswoman for C4M, said: “we’ve got over half a million people who are saying they believe in marriage, and this isn’t just religious people … we believe passionately in marriage. It’s much bigger than the church and the state and it goes back to the beginning of human history.”

The mass petition, which is still open, was presented to Number 10 by Rhys & Esther Curnow, a newly married couple.

The Government’s plans to redefine marriage have proved highly controversial. The Church of England warned that redefining marriage could trigger a constitutional crisis and end the 500-year link between church and state.

In its response to the consultation the Church of England said: “to change the nature of marriage for everyone will be divisive and deliver no obvious legal gains given the rights already conferred by civil partnerships. We also believe that imposing for essentially ideological reasons a new meaning on a term as familiar and fundamental as marriage would be deeply unwise.”

Liam Fox MP, the former Defence Secretary, recently suggested that redefining marriage is a priority for the ‘metropolitan elite’, but not the ‘vast majority of the public’.


A mental health worker who was sacked after expressing concern about the impact of abortion on women is suing the NHS. Margaret Forrester’s lawyers say that restricting debate about abortions would “mean that the NHS has become a dangerously totalitarian organisation with no regard for freedom or diversity.”

The row erupted after Mrs Forrester gave her colleague a booklet in which women who have had abortions talk about their experiences and regrets.

The colleague did not object to being given the booklet, entitled Forsaken, and never complained about Mrs Forrester’s actions.

But following a complaint from a manager from the NHS abortion service Mrs Forrester was found guilty of distributing “materials that individuals may find offensive”. Now the 40-year-old, who worked for the NHS as a psychological wellbeing practitioner, is suing her former employer, Central and North West London NHS Trust.

A spokesman for the Thomas More Legal Centre, the religious freedom charity representing Mrs Forrester, said: “by limiting free discussion of the experiences of patients who have had abortions or any other type of medical treatment the NHS is harming the interests of patients. If abortion is as problem-free as the NHS claims then there should be no objection to the subject being discussed amongst Health Service professionals. If employees of the NHS cannot even discuss the subject of abortion with their colleagues then this means that the NHS has become a dangerously totalitarian organisation with no regard for freedom or diversity.”


Hundreds of people have been penalised for opposing homosexual marriage in Canada since marriage was redefined, a US magazine reports. The National Review, one of America’s most widely read political magazines, says there have been between 200 and 300 proceedings in less than five years.

Public employees have been disciplined, businesses have been sued and churches have been threatened with sanctions over their matrimonial beliefs.

The article’s author, Michael Coren, wrote: “once gay marriage becomes law, critics are often silenced by the force of the law … it’s estimated that, in less than five years, there have been between 200 and 300 proceedings — in courts, human-rights commissions, and employment boards — against critics and opponents of samesex marriage. And this estimate doesn’t take into account the casual dismissals that surely have occurred.”

Mr Coren added: “a considered and empathetic opposition to same-sex marriage has nothing to do with phobia or hatred, but that doesn’t stop Christians, conservatives, and anybody else who doesn’t take the fashionable line from being condemned as Neanderthals and bigots. This is a lesson that Canadians have learned from painful experience”.


The fertility and embryology regulator has announced a consultation on a controversial technique which could lead to children with three genetic parents. David Cameron has reportedly given his support for the technique, but it has been criticised for being an attempt to “genetically modify the human species”.

The Human Fertilisation and Embr yology Authority (HFEA) has given details about its six-month consultation process on the procedure. As well as a number of public consultation events near the end of the year, the HFEA will carry out a survey of attitudes on the issue. It plans to publish its findings from the consultation in 2013.

The Government has previously said the technique may help avoid certain genetic diseases being passed on from mother to child. But critics say there are serious ethical considerations and the experiments may have harmful unintended consequences.

Josephine Quintavalle, from the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: “we are as anxious as anybody to see cures for the many serious conditions related to mitochondrial defects, but what is being proposed is not a cure either for the individual patient or the diseases themselves. It is an attempt to genetically modify the human species, creating an abnormal embryo using donor components from three or more adult sources, passing on these changes to future generations, with who knows what awful consequences.”