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Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/472/2032

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 February 2007

Gay adoption

Christian hierarchy attacks equal rights

LGBT demo credit Marc Vallee

WHILE SOCIALISTS were out last week campaigning against cuts in the NHS, the leaders of Britain's main Christian de-nominations were involved in a different kind of battle.

LGBT demo, photo Marc Vallee

They want to be given an exemption from laws due to be implemented this spring that will ban discrimination against Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people (LGBT) in the provision of services.

Greg Randall

This includes allowing gay couples to adopt children. The top Catholic in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said that his church would rather close down their adoption agencies than provide equal treatment.

The Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury and York supported their fellow prelate's demands as did other religious groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain and the Evangelical Alliance.

There should be no exemptions allowing discrimination by religious groups.

In any case, the religious organisations have different views on the matter. Catholic adoption agencies in America have allowed gay couples to adopt. They were supervised by a bishop who is now the Vatican's "doctrinal enforcer"! The Church of England's agency has allowed gay adoption for eight years.

The present campaign is clearly motivated by a desire to "take a stand" against LGBT rights generally. This endorsement of prejudice could lead to violent consequences by making anti-gay feeling appear to be an acceptable feature of society, even as "God's will". Many Christians will be worried about this and would want the church to place its efforts elsewhere. However, Bishops don't have to consult their followers before announcing the Church hierarchy's views.

Tony Blair, notorious for his strident claims to be Christian, and Ruth Kelly, minister responsible for the legislation and a devout catholic, were reportedly sympathetic to the bishops' demands. However, it seems that open threats of resignation by other ministers resulted in New Labour deciding against any exemption. Possibly a transitional period will be allowed so the Catholic church can shut down its adoption agencies.

The issue isn't settled north of the border, where the Scottish assembly has the final say.

Disgracefully, the Scottish Nationalist Party has supported the call by Scottish Catholic bishops who also want an exemption. This is a naked ploy to win catholic votes on a religious basis. It risks encouraging sectarianism. The SNP is playing a very dangerous game.

The whole affair is a warning of what will happen if charities and religious groups are allowed to take over elements of social and other public services, as is the policy of all the capitalist parties. The only way services can be accessible to everyone is to keep them in the public sector and let them be run democratically by their users and workers.

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In The Socialist 1 February 2007:

Private hands off our health service

NHS: Protests must reflect people's anger

NHS union attacked in Brighton


Workplace news

Striking for jobs and services

BA bosses make concessions


Socialist Students

Mass action can defeat fees

Building for the protests


Socialist Party news and analysis

Gay adoption: Christian hierarchy attacks equal rights

Reid's prison disaster

Review: Silent Accomplice


Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein's major U-turn


War and terrorism

Iraq - build for 24 February demo

Lewisham leads the way


International socialist news and analysis

CWI rally: An inspiring international meeting

CWI World Congress: Building the forces of socialism worldwide

Sri Lanka: Defend socialists under attack

Bolivia: Mass protests demand right-wing Prefect's resignation


Workplace news

Power industry: Fight this victimisation

Sacked electricians fight on

BP condemned over safety standards

Support the Unique Care workers

Southampton care workers on strike

National meeting on Single Status


 

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