Thursday, December 12, 2013

World News

Catholic prelate says church “never considered gay people criminals”
Cardinal Oswald Gracias  * The Associated Press file photo
MUMBAI -- The Archbishop of Mumbai India, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, said Wednesday that the Church has “never considered gay people criminals,” after the Supreme Court of India restored a law banning homosexual acts.
Gracias, who is one of the Pope Francis' eight closest personal advisers and additionally is a member of the Council of Cardinals advising the Pope on Curial reform, said “the Catholic Church has never been opposed to the decriminalisation of homosexuality, because we have never considered gay people criminals.”
“As Christians, we express our full respect for homosexuals. The Catholic Church is opposed to the legalisation of gay marriage, but teaches that homosexuals have the same dignity of every human being and condemns all forms of unjust discrimination, harassment or abuse,” He said.
The Cardinal's remarks came as India’s Supreme Court overturned a decision taken by the High Court of Delhi in 2009, whose ruling had decriminalised homosexual acts.
The High Court said it was up to Indian lawmakers in parliament to legislate the issue. According to Section 377 of India's criminal penal code, a 153-year-old colonial legacy as British imposed law, a same-sex relationship is an “unnatural offence” and punishable by a 10-year jail term.

Landmark decision on Trans parenting by Supreme Court
TOKYO -- In a landmark ruling by Japan's Supreme Court Tuesday, a toddler born to a transgender man and his wife through artificial insemination shall be regarded as their legitimate child. The ruling was the first by a Japanese court in the country where there are currently no laws that stipulate who shall be regarded as the father of children born through artificial insemination by donor.
Previous to the court's decision, the Japanese Justice Ministry had determined that babies born to transgender people and their spouses through artificial insemination were illegitimate, with Ministry officials stating that “it is clear that there are no blood relations between them.” The disparity however was that children born to men and women undergoing fertility treatments and were conceived through artificial insemination were recognised as the couple’s legitimate offspring.
In the case decided by the Supreme Court, a 31-year-old transgender man from Shiso, Hyogo Prefecture, and his wife sought registration of their first-born son as their legitimate child at Shiso City Hall, but that city's municipal government refused the application. His wife, also 31, had conceived with sperm donated by a third party. The boy is now 4 years old and the couple also has a second son who was conceived through artificial insemination.
The couple then submitted the same application in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, where the husband is legally domiciled. Officials refused to register the husband as the boy’s father after discovering on his family register that he was born female and underwent a sex change operation after being diagnosed as suffering from gender identity disorder. 
Instead, the officials deemed the child as illegitimate and left blank the space to record the father’s name. 
The couple, who were lawfully married in 2008, lodged a complaint against the officials handling their application, demanding that ward authorities recognize the husband as the child’s father, the Tokyo Family Court and the Tokyo High Court rejected their complaint. The couple then filed a special appeal to the Supreme Court.
Article 772 of Japan's Civil Law stipulates that “a child conceived by a wife during marriage shall be presumed to be a child of her husband.” the court’s Third Petty Bench, with Justice Takehiko Otani presiding, said in the Dec. 10 ruling. It said the child and the husband are in a legitimate parent-child relationship.
On Tuesday, Justice Takehiko Otani, presiding, said that the child and the husband are in a legitimate parent-child relationship. He added that the boy and the husband, even if they obviously do not have blood relations, should be registered as a parent and a son, denying the conventional idea of putting priority on blood relationships.
The landmark decision will inevitably make the Justice Ministry to change its existing stance toward children of transgender people, as well as prompt the Diet [Japan's Parliament], which has shelved needed discussions, to introduce necessary legislation to deal with the issue of children born via artificial insemination.