Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The last Catholic adoption agency in the U.K. has closed after losing its legal challenge to anti-discrimination laws that require agencies to consider same-sex couples as adoptive parents:
Since Labour’s homosexual rights law came into effect in January 2009, all the other 11 Catholic adoption agencies in England have either had to close down or sever their ties with the church hierarchy. Catholic Care was the last to hold out as it launched its legal bid.
Apparently, in certain "compelling circumstances," discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is permitted, but the Catholic agencies have failed to establish such circumstances. Andrew Hind, the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, explained:
“This has been a complex and sensitive decision which the Commission has reached carefully, following the principles set out by the High Court, case law and on the basis of the evidence before us. Clearly the interests of children are paramount."
Hmmm. . . I understand that there are other values motivating anti-discrimination laws, but I have a hard time figuring out how "the interests of the children are paramount" unless we are assuming that excluding same-sex couples from any single agency's pool of adoptive parents so compromises the pool's quality that it jeopardizes children's best interests. I haven't heard anyone make that argument, so I'm not sure what Hind means. I'd prefer if he said, "Look, we know we're losing an important service to children here, but our government has decided that equal treatment of same-sex and opposite-sex couples is so important that we're willing to make some hard trade-offs."