The Adventist Review shares the following world news from Religion News Service as a service to readers. Opinions expressed in these reports do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Review or the Seventh-day Adventist Church. -- Editors
N.H. Senate Passes Civil Unions Bill
ew Hampshire's Senate passed a bill April 26 that would legalize homosexual civil unions, sending it to Governor John Lynch, who has said he will sign it.
The bill, which passed by a vote of 14-10, would make New Hampshire the fourth state to legalize civil unions, putting it alongside Vermont, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Civil unions grant same-sex couples the same state legal benefits as marriage, minus the name. The bill previously passed the state House, 243-129.
Lynch, a Democrat, told the Associated Press April 19 he would sign the bill, saying it is a "matter of conscience, fairness, and preventing discrimination."
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Report Says Catholic School Enrollment Continues to Slip
Enrollment in Catholic elementary schools continued to decline in the 2006-07 academic year, while secondary school enrollment rose slightly, according to a report by the National Catholic Educational Association.
More than 2.3 million students are enrolled in Catholic schools in 2007, a drop of 1.8 percent from 2005-06. During the last two years, enrollment has declined by almost 100,000 students. It has fallen 12.5 percent since 2000, according to the report, which was released during the NCEA's convention in Baltimore in April.
Since the 2005-06 academic year, 212 Catholic schools merged or closed, while 36 new schools opened, according to the report.
Enrollment is down throughout the U.S., but particularly in large urban areas in the industrialized North, which witnessed a 15 percent drop. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, these areas were populated by high concentrations of Catholic immigrants, according to the report.
In contrast, there is an increase in demand for Catholic schools in areas of the Southeast and far West of the United States, the report says, where 34 percent of the schools have waiting lists.
There are 1.7 million students enrolled in Catholic elementary schools in 2006-07 and 638,000 in secondary schools, according to the report. More than 25 percent of those students are minorities and almost 14 percent are not Catholic. The peak year for Catholic school enrollment was in 1965, when 5.6 million students were enrolled in nearly 13,500 schools.