Monday, January 29, 2007

Fudging the gay adoption issue

Well, it seems David Davis has come out in favour of an "opt out" for the Catholic church in the gay adoption row, whilst David Cameron on the Today Program said basically there should be no block exemption for the Catholic church.

however as a get around to keep the Catholic adoption agencies, they could have three or four years to adapt, by twining with other agencies. The effect would be that if a gay couple went to a Catholic agency, they would get referred to the "other part" that dealt with those things.

Personally I am not convinced that we need the law in the first place. I have not seen the case made. Further more I am against compelling people to act against their religious beliefs. (And no I don't mean one made up last week.)

This whole debate seems to be stirring up division. You only need look at this Yougov poll here. The Scotsman has this report here which indicates that the Catholic Church in Scotland will use the European Court to get around it's woes. This story will not have a happy ending.

You can listen to David Cameron on the Today program here, or read the Telegraph report here.


Man in a shed said...

Personally I think this might be one of the worse mistakes David Cameron ever makes. A lot of people are looking at him in a new light.

The legislation is socialist in its illiberal compulsion and will be counter productive in terms of public harmony.

Benedict White said...

i tend to agree. I have not seen a great clamour for the legislation in the first place, and wonder if it s not the result of a few zealot activists.

The problem is though, how do you attack equality legislation? After all who could possibly be against equality?

Timothy said...

Sorry, but I disagree with you here Benedict.

Personally I feel that all people should be treated equally. A bigoted hotelier should not be allowed to discriminate against a gay couple, for example, and I see it as a good thing that legal redress will now be able to brought to bear against such people.

As to the specific case of the Catholic adoption agencies I have two specific objections to an opt-out:

1. The agencies receive state funding. In some ways this then becomes a "test-bed" for when the Tories would later want to contract out social services to religious charities more widely - would that then see Gays discriminated against for mental health support, perhaps?

2. The kids. Many gay people that I know would make excellent parents. I think it would be a sad thing for kids to be denied such a family due to the bigoted nature of the agency that was dealing with their case. How could that be right?

Benedict White said...

Timothy, just how big is the problem you wish to deal with?

let us take a hypothitical case, in a hypothetical country, with no immigrant community, and no equel rights legislation.

It gets an influx of 100,000 immigrants who settle in various communities.

Most people will deal with them. However 1% of the shops in London, and 2% of those in Manchester and Liverpool just won't. There appears to be no rational reason.

Is it worth legislating against?

I think not.

Likewise, let us say only 3 people in the country "did" heroin, would it be worth leglislating against? I say no.

So just how many hotels wont deal with gay people? 1%, 10% 50%? If it is 1% for example, why oh why legislate?

We know how many adoption agencies wont, 4. Just 4. Their are 12 on Merseyside alone who will. Dozens more in London. So if the hotels issue is small, why are we passing yet more legislation?

On the issue of social services and voluntary provision, I don't think the Church would have the same faith based issue, incedently.

ChrisD said...

A free vote on this amendment is something I welcome.
Found a reference to the Nicola Sturgeon article here and am awaiting a copy of the Scottish Roman Catholic Observer to read the letter in full. Link to Herald article.
"Following last week's debacle, Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader at Holyrood, wrote to the Catholic Observer to say her party would give agencies protection to be able to carry on as they are. McMahon said this showed "nauseating hypocrisy" by the SNP."

Benedict White said...

Thanks for that ChrisD.

I suspect this law may stil yet cause problems.