British Adoption Agencies must accept same sex couples

Telegraph (UK) 31 Jan 07
Adoption agencies in Britain will have to consider homosexual applicants under new anti-discrimination laws. Efforts by Catholic agencies to win an opt-out clause had the support of Tony Blair but failed after some of his ministers rebelled and he was forced to toe the “no exemptions” line. Catholic prelate Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who has warned that Catholic agencies would close rather than accept rules that required them to hand over babies to same sex couples, has indicated that he still hopes for a compromise.
The row centres on new Sexual Orientation Regulations which were due to come into force in April as part of the new Equality Act. They will make it illegal to discriminate against people because they are homosexual when providing goods and services. Mr Blair announced this week that the new rules would not come into force until the end of 2008. Until then there would be a “statutory duty” for religious agencies to refer homosexual applicants to other agencies.
In an article in the Daily Telegraph Cardinal Murphy O’Connor said the idea that “same-sex couples are as suited to the tasks of bringing up children as heterosexual couples” was “far removed from the instinct and conviction of most people. Most would seem to hold to the standard view that a child flourishes best in the care of a mother and a father, just as within that relationship is a child conceived.” The prelate said he looked to the debate in Parliament over the regulations to address such issues.