A Roman Catholic adoption agency has said it will not comply with gay equality laws.
The Catholic Children’s Society in Westminster plans to ignore the equality laws, and continue only placing children with heterosexual couples or single people.
The agency claim to have found a legal loophole that would allow them to remain open, while adhering to their beliefs against homosexuality.
By amending their by-laws to refer directly to married heterosexual couples, the agency claims that it would avoid having to provide their services to gay and lesbian couples.
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has issued a statement condemning the attempt to avoid providing adoption services to gay and lesbian people.
They call the decision made by the agency to try to circumvent the purpose of the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) by using a loophole “sadly misguided.”
The LGCM also drew attention to other Roman Catholic agencies which have “put children first and are making a smooth transition to accommodate the [SORs] without any loss of service to the young ones.”
The Sexual Orientation Regulations, which came into force last year, make it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation when accessing goods or services. The law applies to adoption agencies.
The Roman Catholic Church tried to get an opt-out from the regulations for their adoption agencies, but after a Cabinet row they were unsuccessful.
In the end, Catholic adoption agencies were given a 18 month exemption from the regulations. The exemption was given in order to give Catholic adoption agencies a chance to change to accommodate the law.
If, by the end this year, agencies have not complied with the regulations they will be shut down by the government.
However, the Catholic Children’s Society in Westminster plan to defy those regulations.
The LGCM believe that, having lost their legal arguments against the regulations, the Catholic Children’s Society in Westminster are planning to force the government to shut them down.
“It is clear that the Trustees of the Catholic Children’s Society in Westminster have made this decision solely for political reasons, hoping to garner public support as they are subsequently seen to be “bullied” into following the law.”
The LGCM challenge the agency to “put the children first and to withdraw from their present confrontational course.”
“We believe the Trustees are using these vulnerable children as a political tool and we urge them to stop abusing their trust in this way.”
Reverand Martin Reynolds, from the LGCM and himself an adoptive parent, thinks that the agencies should be honest and acknowledge that they have been “allowing gay couples to adopt for years but with only one of the partners registering as the parent.”
“The great work that they do should be preserved.” he added.
Of the stance taken by the Roman Catholic Church, he said: “When these needy children are so powerless it is a shame for this Church to be seen playing such power games with their future happiness.”