Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Adoption Law Delay "Meaningless"

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has described the offer to delayed implementation of the Equalities Act to faith-based adoption agencies as meaningless.

He said "It will be no easier for Catholic agencies to act contrary to conscience in 21 months time than it is now.

The spokesman said he was disappointed with the announcement that no exemptions would be permitted for faith based groups and planned to study the new regulations to see if there was any way the adoption agencies can continue.

At present it would appear that faith-based adoption agencies, if they follow their beliefs, are likely to be de-registered for not complying with the new regulations - somewhat reminiscent of the experience of the church in certain former Soviet countries!

The spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church also stated "This decision has wide ramifications. The issue of Catholic adoption agencies is just the tip of the iceberg.

"These regulations could compel religious organisations either to renounce their activities or be removed from public life."

The spokesman also accused the prime minister of undermining the Scottish Executive while ignoring the appeals of religious leaders in order to "placate a powerful lobby group".

The Catholic Church in Scotland said it had been given assurances in December when the executive passed a bill allowing same-sex adoption that it could continue to set criteria blocking gay couples - but those assurances could fall foul of Westminster's Equality Act.

The Equality Act, due to come into effect in England, Wales and Scotland in April, outlaws discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexual orientation.

Gay lobbying groups and some MPs have argued that there could be no exemption for discrimination on faith grounds. Other MP's point out that there are always exemptions.

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