LONDON (CNS): The president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said he was “deeply disappointed” over the British Government’s refusal to exempt 13 Catholic adoption agencies from gay rights regulations.
“It is clear from the Prime Minister’s statement that he has listened to some of the concerns of the Catholic Church in regard to its adoption agencies,” said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, England.
“We are, of course, deeply disappointed that no exemption will be granted to our agencies on the grounds of widely held religious conviction and conscience.”
The cardinal’s January 29 statement followed an announcement by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that adoption agencies would have until the end of 2008 to comply with the Sexual Orientation Regulations outlawing discrimination against homosexuals in services and facilities.
Public funding will be withdrawn if agencies refuse to place children with same-sex couples.
A week earlier, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said the regulations would lead to the closure of Catholic adoption agencies which find homes for about 250 vulnerable children each year.
A source close to the bishops, who wished not to be named, told Catholic News Service on January 30 that a decision had not been made on the future of the adoption agencies because the Church had nearly two years to seek a solution.