Cabinet rejects exemption on gay adoptions
The Catholic church is almost certain to lose its battle for special treatment over gay adoption rules under a deal agreed by the cabinet to heal damaging divisions between senior ministers. Cabinet sources said the new proposals would require Catholic adoption agencies to consider gay couples – or close down – after a reasonable delay that would allow them to ensure that the children in their care are properly dealt with.
The Catholics, supported by Anglican Archbishop Williams of Canterbury and Archbishop Sentamu of York, want exemption from the anti-discrimination legislation for homosexuals, saying their “rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well-meaning”. They are putting the childrens’ interests first, they claim, but considering the Catholic Church’s record on child abuse, this seems like gross hypocrisy to me.
In today’s New Statesman, Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet Harman says,
You can either be against discrimination or you can allow for it. You can’t be a little bit against discrimination.
If Tony Blair were left to make the decision about giving in to the Catholics’ demands, he almost certainly would. Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly, a Catholic, is reported as considering resignation. However, other cabinet members and many back-benchers have signalled that there can be no exemptions from the legislation. If the Catholics had their way, it would be legitimising homophobia.