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MANCHESTER (ChurchMilitant.com) - The judge at the center of the Alfie Evans case is a pro-gay advocate and member of the Bar Lesbian and Gay Group (BLAGG), a network of gay lawyers in the United Kingdom. He has repeatedly ruled against Evans' parents, represented by the pro-life, pro-marriage Christian Legal Centre, which has condemned homosexuality as one of the "most significant challenges to God's pattern for family in today's society."
Justice Anthony Hayden was appointed to the High Court of Justice in July 2013, and specializes in family and children's law. On his appointment, BLAGG offered its congratulations: "We have the great pleasure of congratulating Anthony Hayden on his forthcoming appointment."
Hayden has also co-authored a book titled Children and Same Sex Families, a legal handbook on gay parenting, adoption, children's rights and so forth. The book is described as a guide for those "who provide advice and support to same sex families."
In the preface, Hayden writes that the book addresses "the ever-evolving concept of the family."
"We are more careful with our language now," he notes, especially in light of "the raft of equality legislation [that] provides a framework for a much fairer society in the future and one in which the options for children are expanded, keeping them at the centre of the legal process."
The Christian Legal Centre (CLC), whose attorneys represent Alfie's parents, stands at the opposite end of the moral spectrum, rejecting homosexuality as an attack on the family.
"The loving union of one man and one woman is the normal God-given context for children to be born and raised," reads the CLC website description. "This pattern for married life has been under attack for all of human history. Divorce, homosexuality and transsexualism are three of the most significant challenges to God's pattern for family in today's society."
Sister to Christian Concern, CLC is a non-profit that exists "to defend Christians in the public sphere and to protect the freedom of Christians to live their lives in accordance with their Christian beliefs."
The website states, "[W]e are convinced that Jesus Christ, and his pattern for life, is not only the right way to live, but the best way to live."
During an emergency hearing Tuesday afternoon, where Hayden once again denied the parents' request to have Alfie flown to Italy for treatment, the judge blasted CLC attorney Pavel Stroilov, calling him a "deluded and fanatical young man" for his advocacy on behalf of the Evans.
In spite of Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Hospital's offer to treat Alfie, and Italy's grant of citizenship to him last week, Hayden ruled that Alfie could not leave the country and must submit to the end-of-life plan proposed by Alder Hey Hospital, which involves slow death by starvation.
Alder Hey Hospital had removed Alfie's breathing tube Monday night, and against all odds, Alfie continued to live. After first depriving the toddler of water and oxygen for nine hours, the hospital eventually gave way to the parents' repeated requests for oxygen and hydration, although it still denies him food.
"The doctors said he would die within five minutes of him being taken off a life support machine, but he is here 22 hours later still fighting," said Tom Evans at a press conference Tuesday.
The Catholic Church teaches that food and water may not be removed from a sick patient if it will be the direct cause of the patient's death. Only in cases of imminent death — e.g., the organs are shutting down or disease will kill the patient before any deprivation of food or water — is it permissible to remove hydration or nutrition. Alfie, who continues to live and breathe without a ventilator, would die directly as the result of lack of food.
After the Evans appealed Hayden's ruling, the Court of Appeals announced Tuesday night it would accept the appeal. The hearing will take place Wednesday afternoon.
"He is making vocal noises and he is breathing. I am not going to give up on him," said Tom Evans. "Alfie could be in Italy tomorrow night."
An air ambulance in England and a military plane in Italy are waiting on standby to rush Alfie to Italy if his parents win the appeal.
Bambino Gesu Hospital President Dr. Mariella Enoc said Wednesday night, "I spoke a short while ago with Thomas, Alfie's father. At this time Alfie has an oxygen mask but we need to transport him. Hoping for diplomatic moves. We are waiting for the signal."