Here in the UK, equality under the law for the queer community is taken seriously. Although we do not yet have full gay marriage, the legal status of civil partnerships is virtually identical to that of civil marriage in all but name. Adoption regulations are also explicit in prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Ever since the sexual orientation regulations affecting adoption were promulgated, the Catholic Church has sought to avoid their legal responsibilities in the agencies it operates - mostly unsuccessfully. One by one, most of the agencies have cut their formal ties with the church, so as to avoid embarrassing it while continuing to provide services within the framework of the law.
One agency in Leeds, Catholic Care, has attempted to get around the regulations by changing the terms of its "charitable aims", to state explicitly that it exists to serve only heterosexual couples. In news released overnight, the Charities Commission has rejected this application. The agency laments that it will now have to close, and that the children will lose out.
This is nonsense. All it needs to do, is to follow the example of eleven other Catholic adoption agencies before it, and recognise that the interests of the child are more important than slavish obedience to the decrees of bishops. The interests of a child are to be placed with the best parents available. Sometimes, the best available parents will happen to be gay or lesbian. There are numerous scientific studies demonstrate this - even in the animal kingdom, sometimes same sex couples make better parents.
Ordinary Catholics know it too - mot Catholics approve of gay adoption, just as most Catholics in many countries approve of gay marriage. It really is time that the Catholic bishops, and the organizations associated with them, began to consider the evidence before pronouncing for the entire church on matters which they clearly do not understand. This is the press release from the Roman Catholic Caucus of the LGCM:
Catholic Care: Charity Commissioners' Decision
The Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement is delighted at the news that the Charity Commissioners have refused to consent to a change in the charitable objects of the Roman Catholic adoption agency Catholic Care which would have provided that the charity's adoption services were to be provided to "heterosexuals only".
Celia Gardiner, Convenor of the Caucus, said:
"The proposed amendments were deeply offensive to many Catholics. Catholic values dictate that the agency should do its utmost to find loving homes for the children it exists to serve. These objects would have compromised the agency's ability to do so.
Eleven Catholic adoption agencies have successfully adapted so as to comply with the Sexual Orientation Regulations and do so with active support from practising Catholics. We hope that Catholic Care will do the same."