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 Society, which was founded in 1764, has been advised by lawyers that if it amended its constitution it could comply with the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which take effect next year and aim to end discrimination against gays by businesses.
At the moment, the constitution simply refers to helping couples who wish to adopt. However, a quirk in the wording of the regulations means that the Society may be able to protect itself by amending its constitution to refer directly to married heterosexual couples.
The Cardinal said yesterday: 'I fully support the decision of the trustees in their endeavours to continue the valuable work of the Society.'
His defiance could influence Catholic agencies that are still considering their fate, although some have already thrown in the towel.
And it will be welcomed by London's Catholics, who raise thousands of pounds each year for the Society. In 2001 the comedian Frank Skinner donated £125,000 he won on ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Sunday, June 08, 2008
UK Catholic Adoption Agency to Stand Firm
Via the Daily Mail: