Monday, 9 June 2008

Mail on Sunday: Catholic adoption agency to defy gay rights law

A Roman Catholic adoption agency headed by Britain's most senior Catholic churchman is to defy the Government over its controversial gay equality laws.

The Westminster Catholic Children's Society, whose president is Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, will ignore new rules that require it to place children with same-sex couples.

While other Catholic adoption agencies are caving in to the legislation by severing their ties with the Church or even closing, the Westminster Society will continue its policy of placing children only with married heterosexuals and single people.

Its stance will set the Cardinal - who welcomed Tony Blair into the Catholic Church last December - on a collision course with New Labour and the gay rights lobby.

It is a high-risk strategy that could provoke a costly and bruising test case in the courts, with campaigners determined to see the Society closed down.

But advisers to the Cardinal, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, believe they have found a legal loophole that could allow the Society to remain open and loyal to Catholic teaching, which opposes gay marriage and adoption by gay couples.

The Government, which forced the Sexual Orientation Regulations through Parliament after a bitter Cabinet battle and in the face of fierce opposition from religious leaders, would be severely embarrassed by a defeat in the courts. Read more
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