Neither of which has anything to do with climate change. They are:
* Foster parent ban: ‘extreme distress’ of ‘anti-gay’ Christians’ over ruling courtesy of the Torygraph; and
* ECJ gender ruling hits insurance costs
God hates fags
I was going to rant about the first one but I won’t (err, other than my mildly provocative headline). Instead, I’ll ask you to compare the Torygraph and the Beeb to the actual judgement, which helpfully contains a summary of the case.
From which I quote a bit of background: The claimants are members of the Pentecostalist Church and believe that sexual relations other than those within marriage between one man and one woman are morally wrong. Between August 1992 and January 1995 they were approved as foster carers by Derbyshire County Council. They last fostered a child in September 1993 when they did so for one month. They applied for approval by the defendant in September 2004 but, because of professional and other personal commitments, withdrew that application. In June 2006 they again expressed interest in fostering. In January 2007 they applied to the defendant to be short-term foster carers. It is the treatment of that application which has given rise to these proceedings.
For the details of the case I refer you to the judgement, which is well worth a read. Highlights include the judges giving the claimants’ barrister gets a good kicking (extravagant rhetoric… simply wrong as to the factual premises… at best tendentious in their analysis of the issues… It is hard to know where to start with this travesty of the reality) and the gentler but equally firm kicking they give to Lord Carey, former archbish.
The judges reject the claimants’ attempts to frame this as a matter of religious persecution, and quoting a previous judgement reaffirm
In a free constitution such as ours there is an important distinction to be drawn between the law’s protection of the right to hold and express a belief and the law’s protection of that belief’s substance or content. The common law and ECHR Article 9 offer vigorous protection of the Christian’s right and every other person’s right to hold and express his or her beliefs, and so they should. By contrast, they do not, and should not, offer any protection whatever of the substance or content of those beliefs on the ground only that they are based on religious precepts. These are twin conditions of a free society
which I think is well said. The conclusions are paras 107-9, from which we find the parties have: (a) been unable to agree on an appropriately focused question for the court to address, (b) each identified questions that do not raise a question of law that can be answered with anything approaching a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and (c) furnished the court with no evidence… we have concluded that we should make no order.
So: not only has the council made no decision (other than, with the plaintiffs agreement, to defer making a decision) but the court made no decision (other than not to make a decision). So all the talk of people being “banned” is utter twaddle.
Point (b) is quite interesting. What happened is that both sides realised they were in disagreement, and (I’m guessing) realised that if they pushed it to a decision (by the council) then it was going to end up in court. So what they (apparently sensibly) tried to do was defer the decision, and ask the court to decide in advance. The court, however, was deeply unhappy with this. Because instead of a clear question (“was decision X lawful”?) the court was being asked to rule on a series of rather vague and sweeping statements that were far too wide.
EU declares itself insane
Unfortunately, I’m also getting my views on the second case from the Torygraph and the Grauniad. But only because I couldn’t find the judgement itself. I did look but failed to find. [Updated: but others are better than me: J found the judgement and PL the press release.]
Anyway, what appears to have happened in this case is that the judges have made a ridiculous reality-defying decision
, but only because they have followed the ridiculous reality-defying law. People’s risk profile is affected by age and sex based on good statistical evidence, and companies should be able to use that information.
[Update: based on reading the court's own press release, and the judgement, I've revised my opinion. The law as it existed was a little murky and confused, but capable of being interpreted sanely. The judges, possibly due to actuarial incompetence, possibly due to intrinsic stupidity, or who knows exactly why, willfully decided to produce an insane decision, which is entirely their own fault.]
[Update: Other people have a different view. Timmy quotes Ministry of Truth (who get confused about the temporary exemption, and comes down on the wrong side: viz, that the situation is clear. It isn't clear, that much is clear) and the City Law School who talk similar nonsense. Sigh.
My own view, as I made clear in the comments, is that there is no problem here that the law needs to solve. There is no pressing case of anyone being unjustly discriminated against; the EU should not have passed the original law (in good or in bad form) and the court should have declined to hear the case -W]