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October 28, 2020 Roundup

Recent news from around the world focused on advancing the rights of all families. Switzerland approved a new paternity-leave policy for fathers; the Pope voiced support for same-sex civil unions, and the nuptials of a Washington State prisoner hope to make marriage a human right for the incarcerated. COVID news is mixed: many CEOs are reconnecting with families during daily meals, but in the UK, the lockdown is spiking the divorce rate.

‘Divorce boom’ forecast as lockdown sees advice queries rise Michael Race, BBC News, 12 September 2020 Update from the UK: “The coronavirus pandemic is creating an ‘enormous strain’ on relationships, an advice charity has warned, with family lawyers predicting a ‘post-lockdown divorce boom’….Family lawyer Georgina Chase said about 30% of matrimonial enquires she had received had been from couples separating because of issues in relationships being ‘exacerbated’ during the lockdown.”

Switzerland Votes to Approve Paternity Leave Noele Illien, The New York Times, September 27, 2020 Fathers will be allowed 10 days of paid time off after voters endorsed a new law despite a conservative backlash that forced a referendum…“This is a clear sign for an advanced family policy,” said Min Li Marti, a lawmaker in Switzerland’s national council. However, Ms. Marti said there was still room for improvement. “There is still a lot to be done with regards to uniting family and career,” she said.

C.E.O.s Rediscover The Family Dinner Table Jenny Gross, The New York Times, October 11, 2020 “Without in-person company meetings, chief executives have instead become regulars at a new type of meeting: the family dinner. For some of the busiest people in the world, the new normal has reshaped life at home…Decades of research have shown the benefits of regular family meals for children across the socioeconomic spectrum. Children who eat with their parents have bigger vocabularies, receive higher grades and have lower rates of obesity.”

Grateful for a Wedding in Prison Jenny Block, The New York Times, October 22, 2020 Chelsea Moore, a law student, married Christopher Blackwell, who is incarcerated, at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington State. He will be released in 2045. “Marriage is a human right,” Mr. Christopher Blackwell said. “To say someone can’t love is simply inhumane.” Above all else, Ms. Chelsea Moore said she and Mr. Blackwell are grateful. Not only to be married but also because now other couples with an imprisoned partner will also have the opportunity to marry as well.

In Shift for Church, Pope Francis Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions Jason Horowitz, The New York Times, October 23, 2020 Pope Francis expressed support for same-sex civil unions in remarks revealed in a documentary film that premiered on Wednesday, a significant break from his predecessors that staked out new ground for the church in its recognition of gay people. The remarks, coming from the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, had the potential to shift debates about the legal status of same-sex couples in nations around the globe and unsettle bishops worried that the unions threaten what the church considers traditional marriage — between one man and one woman.

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