CATHOLIC Liberal politician Bernie Finn suspects backlash against a religious exemption on Victoria’s new same-sex adoption law is an “ongoing war on Christianity”.
Same-sex adoption became legal when Upper House passed the legislation on November 12, but with an exemption for faith-based agencies.
The exemption is at the heart of a debate between the state’s Liberal-National coalition, which voted in favour of faith-based agencies retaining their freedom to reject same-sex couples, and the opposed Labor party.
The amended passed bill would cull Clause 17, which would remove the existing same-sex adoption exemption for faith-based agencies, including Catholic organisation CatholicCare in Melbourne.
Mr Finn, who told Victoria parliament he would be voting against the clause and against the bill for the rights of children, told The Catholic Leader the government was “arrogant” in forcing Christians to go against their conscience.
“Section 17 is an ongoing war on Christianity,” he said.
“I have never heard such arrogance in a government telling the Church what they can do as though they have more authority than the Pope.
“The government has a clear agenda and that is to crush Catholic influence.”
The pro-life supporter said the welfare of children compelled him to vote against the bill.
“Despite what the rainbow fascists said, I don’t hate anyone, I don’t hate homosexuals,” Mr Finn said.
“But I came to the view a long time ago that the welfare of the child trumps everything else.
“I am not convinced a child without a mum or a father would be better for it, and to change that does throw the equilibrium out the window.”
While Mr Finn agreed that not every heterosexual couple were “great parents”, it was “important where at all possible that the child has a mother and a father”.
Melbourne’s CatholicCare chief executive director Fr Joe Caddy, said the exemption outcome showed respect to members of the community with differing rights and viewpoints.
“The parliament voted to allow same sex adoptions, but also to retain an exemption so that religious organisations would not be forced to act in ways contrary to their deeply held traditions,” he said.
“This outcome respects the rights and viewpoints of the whole community.”
By Emilie Ng