Thursday, January 25, 2007

Gay Adoption and the Catholic Church

Several people have queried why I haven't commented on the row over gay adoption and the Catholic Church. I suppose it's because I haven't got anything terribly original to say on it. The government seems to have painted itself into a corner with threats of resignation if Tony Blair backs down. However, Blair has said today that he is working on a compromise. This is from PA...
He [Blair] said he will work to find a solution that ends
discrimination against gays and also ensures the protection of vulnerable
children receiving help with adoption and after-care from Catholic agencies. Mr
Blair said: "There is one last aspect within the new regulations to resolve and
it concerns adoption. I have always personally been in favour of the right of
gay couples to adopt. Our priority will always be the welfare of the child." He
added: "Both gay couples and the Catholic agencies have a high level of success
in adopting hard-to-place children. It is for that reason we have taken time to
ensure we get these regulations right. How do we protect the principle of ending
discrimination against gay people and at the same time protect those vulnerable
children who at the present time are being placed through, and after-care
provided by, Catholic agencies, who everyone accepts do a great job with some of
the most disturbed youngsters. We will announce a decision next week and then
vote, probably next month. I am committed to finding a way through this
sensitive and difficult decision."

I wish him well in finding a way through this minefield because I am not sure there is one. I've discussed it often on 18 Doughty Street over the last few days and the level of vitriol it has engendered is deeply worrying. The very fact that I even dare to discuss it seems to offend some people. I think I can guess why. A glance at many of the 250 comments on THIS thread on ConservativeHome is also not particularly edifying. Indeed, it's prompted a piece in PINK NEWS. I saw a woman from the Catholic Church on Sky News earlier this week trying her best not to appear homophobic but she couldn't carry it off. What a sad state of affairs.

The problem with this legislation is that the Government does not appear to have thought it through properly, with the consequence that the PM is now having to make policy on the hoof. It is complicated by its sponsoring Minister Ruth Kelly being a devout Catholic and a member of Opus Dei. Her position looks increasingly untenable. As someone wrote this morning, she is a Catholic who happens to be a politician, not the other way around.

Out of 3,700 adoptions last year (in itself an incredibly low number), only 185 involved gay couples. My argument has always been that in an ideal world all children would be brought up by two loving parents. The norm is that they are brought up by parents of the opposite sex. the fact that the State endorses the adoption of children by gay parents is urely a crcucial factor in this debate. I understand that there are 60,900 children in care in this country. These kids need love and stability, whether it is in the home of a straight couple or a gay couple. A stable home environment with loving, responsible parents should be the priority for all of us - whether we are Catholic, Muslim, Anglican or of no religion at all. Each of these children would benefit from this environment rather than being in a care home.

I find it deeply offensive if anyone should suggest that gay couples are not capable of providing that love and stability. The underlying insinuation behind some of what the churches are saying on this issue is that kids who are adopted by gay parents are more likely to be led astray morally or even abused. they'll never say that outrightm but that's what some people still think. A very small minority of deeply religious - and otherwise totally compassionate - people still hold on to the view that homosexuality is a moral equivalent of paedophilia. A friend of mine rather cruelly said he's have more sympathy with that argument if the Catholic church got its own house in order on that subject.

I do not like compulsion, especially on moral issues. However, in this case I do not believe that you can say to one religious group: "It's OK, you don't have to obey the same law as everyone else". Perhaps to put it in perspective we should delete the word 'catholic' and insert the word 'muslim'. I suspect in that scenario we'd find that the very same people who are shouting loudest now, would be saying how outrageous it was for muslims to be granted an opt-out.

PS I realise this issue provokes strong reactions in people. Not everyone will agree with what I have written here. I switched off Comment Moderation on Sunday and so far I haven't had to delete any comments at all, so well done to everyone! Please be moderate in your language in this thread and let's have a proper debate without being too emotive.

95 comments:

Anonymous said...

From a libertarian point of view this is very simple:

Don't tell other people what to do with their stuff.

Catholics can run their agencies how they like.

Pro gay groups can run theirs how they like.

Otherwise you are asking for a totalitarian regime, with no exceptions, no matter the cost.

Which sounds very NL to me.

griswold said...

What is homophobic about the statement that an adopted child's best needs, in relation to its upbringing, would best be met by being reared by a 'father' and 'mother'?

The Catholic Church is one of many agencies suppling adoption services. They do not have a monopoly. The 'Gay Lobby' brooks no opposition to its views. The Catholic Church needs to make a stand on this issue. Ruth Kelly will probably resign and so she should.

Anonymous said...

The problem is you cannot have an "opt out " from equality. If everyone believed in equality, we'd need no law to ensure it happens.

I agree with what you say about Ruth Kelly. It is interesting that John Reid, also a Catholic does not support an opt out.

Buster George said...

Iain

The main point for me over this whole issue is one of consistency.

How can the Government go on and on about equality and understanding for minorities and their belifs, and not take into account the beliefs of a faith that a majority of this country has.

I personaly don't think some of the homophobic feelings are justified. But there is a growing anger that everyone is listened to, pandered to, and given rights that seem to be at our expense, that the gay rights issue has touched such a raw nerve that people are looking for someone to blame.

Tony Blair and his cronies have nailed the skill of deflecting the blame elsewhere that it is the Gay people that are going to be the targets as they are the recipients of yet more legislation that denies both people and institutions a right to voice and live to a set of beliefs.

Noel Slevin said...

Iain, you really puzzle me sometimes. On the one hand, you claim to hold broadly Christian ethics/views/whatever you want to call it, yet on the other, a Biblical (and therefore Christian) view of matters such as this leaves you appearing to want your cake and eat it. You can't have it both ways - please don't claim to hold broadly Christian views if you're going to pick and choose the ones which are convenient.

Anonymous said...

"The problem with this legislation is that the Government does not appear to have thought it through properly, with the consequence that the PM is now having to make policy on the hoof. It is complicated by its sponsoring Minister Ruth Kelly being a devout Catholic and a member of Opus Dei. Her position looks increasingly untenable. As someone wrote this morning, she is a Catholic who happens to be a politician, not the other way around."

Yes, that is about the size of it. Flawed legislation to begin with, then vested interests from all sides piling in on the weakness, thereby relegating the welfare of the child to a low priority.

As for Ruth Kelly and her cilice, please sign this petition to have her removed from office, and please tell all your friends. Together we can make a difference!

Anonymous said...

"From a libertarian point of view this is very simple." ~ Anonymous

From a libertarian point of view, everything is very simple.

As well as hopelessly simplistic.

Slim Jim said...

As far as I can see, this is less to do with equality and more to do with the imposition of minority values over the majority, due to the powerful influence of the gay lobby. It's the thin end of the wedge. Compulsory culture change is NOT the best way forward, and I agree with you Iain when you say this has not been thought through fully. No change there then!

Also, let's not forget that the Catholic Church is not saying that gays shouldn't adopt, just that they don't want to play; that's why they would refer a gay couple to another agency. I've a funny feeling that NuLab will panic when they realise that a good chunk of their votes will evaporate (especially in Scotland) if they insist on this.

If it's any consolation to the many Catholics in the government, don't worry - you're all going to burn in hell!

Anonymous said...

In today's Guardian, a representative of the Catholic Church said, That it would be ok for atheists to adopt but not gays. So a pair of Gay Catholics, who would bring up the children in the church,no but atheists yes.
But then again, we all know there are no Gay Catholics, and every single priest is as striaght as.....

Anonymous said...

The way I see it this law will certain people more equal than others , there's lots of people trying to adopt who are already jumping through hoops ,if this law comes in then the adoption societies could be accused of not complying with laws, I do agree this lot have painted themselves into a corner

Lerxst said...

Iain

I agree with pretty much everything you say, though I suspect we come to different conclusions.

Take it from "However, in this case I do not believe that you can say to one religious group: "It's OK, you don't have to obey the same law as everyone else"".

Couldn't agree more. However, while you seem to be implying sympathy with the government, I'd go the other way and scrap the law entirely. Adopt the libertarian approach advocated by Anon7.53.

And yes, as part of that people should be able to discriminate as they wish. Those that do will suffer by losing business, better employees, and so on. But that, frankly, should be their right.

Crossfire said...

Noel Slevin - You are talking nonsense...

The Catholic church have got some very strange attitudes to morality given that:

1) They admitted last year that 5% of their priests are known pedophiles.

2) Rattinger (the current pope) was the guy responsible for supressing information about pedophiles rather than ensuring thier prosecution.

Frankly its a bleedin insult to gay couples to suggest that they shouldn't be adoptive parents by an organisation that has a lot of bizarre rituals and 'values' but very few morals.

Anonymous said...

I am a little confused as to why this law on the provision of services is even relevant to the question of whether an adoption agency will consider a gay couple or not.

Surely the service is provided to the child, and the mission of the adoption agency is to find the best family it can for that child. I don't think we're talking about Catholic adoption agencies refusing to find an adoptive family for a gay child here, are we?

(I'm not expression an opinion one way or the other on whether adoption by a gay couple should be permitted, or compulsory or whatever. )

Anonymous said...

I think gays should adopt the Catholic church. After all they already have the Charlotte Church (nobody genuinely heterosexual would give her a second glance)

Anonymous said...

Noel Slevin - have you read the Bible? Both Testaments? Christians have spent the past 2000 years picking and choosing. The prohibition on homosexuality comes from the Old Testament, but Christians ignore most of the rules of the Old Testament, because they believe it became redundant after the arrival of Jesus. Most modern Christians are quite prepared to eat pork, eat grain and bread products on Passover, wear clothes that contain both wool and linen, not get circumcised, the list goes on and on. But for some reason, the Old Testament prohibition on homosexuality must be inviolable? As an outsider, I have the utmost respect for Christians, but I have to say, you confuse the hell out of me sometimes!

Jess The Dog said...

Both gay adopters and Catholic adoption agencies deal with small proportions of the adoptions arranged in the UK. You would think the pond was big enough to accommodate both!

I don't believe that the Catholic agencies should be prohibited from placing restrictions on suitable couples based on marriage vs cohabitation or heterosexual vs same sex. However, they should not receive public money if they do not follow an equality-based policy that recognises the equal validity of same sex partnerships. I think the Catholic Church does excellent work in persuading women not to have abortions with financial support and the promise of arranging adoptions. I can't see the public sector taking such a "judgemental" view on the right to life vs abortions of convenience!

Anonymous said...

If the Catholic church really does have the best interests of children at heart, then why is it playing this game of political blackmail rather than doing their best to find loving adoptive families for them? If they were being consistent, then surely they should refuse to have dealings with any couple that broke any of the ten commandments rather than just the one about coveting their neighbour's ass ...

Anonymous said...

I'm starting my own religion, so that I can opt out of laws that I don't agree with on the basis of "conscience".

Cranmer said...

Mr Johnny Wright,

The New Testament has stipulations on homosexual acts also; it is not simply an Old Testament issue.

His Grace could talk at length about the complex issues surrounding this subject, and his own post attempts to steer a via media. Ultimately, however, it cannot be right that the state seeks to legislate on matters of conscience. That is to roll back three centuries of hard-earned religious liberty, and moves us towards cultural Marxism.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that no teenage boy would feel comfortable in a male homosexual household, not because he felt he was in any danger just "because" same in a lesbian household.
Gay people, being gay find what they do to be normal because being gay it is normal (to them) that is why they cannot understand how "straight" people REALLY feel about homosexuality. Hold your hands up all of you that hand on heart really wouldn't laugh at a "good" racist or homophobic joke in you were not with a gay person or somebody of another race, it is I am afraid part of the human condition and no amount of social engineering will change that.
I hate to say it (despite what i say on my blog) but gay practises revolt most people, not gay people as individuals just the idea of homosexuality its a DNA thing.
Most men and women will understand what I mean even if they wouldn't say it in public.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this is a libertarian issue.

Citizens should be free to negotiate these issues between themselves without interference from the state. Relationships between people are too complicated for state interference to regulate effectively as the controversy proves already. It is a piece of repressive legislation for everybody.

Most of the gays I have known would not want to go to a hotel/club/agency that didn't want them anyway.

Northwing said...

Iain,

I am a christian and I also have gay friends (my best man at my wedding) so I know this issue needs dealing with sensitively. I do not understand why the gay lobby o.b.o same sex couples are campaigning so vigorously for EQUAL rights to adopt children when having children isn't something that their relationship or their orientation provides them with naturally. Yes I know 95% of people whatever their orientation are fertile, but this needs some kind of sanity check surely?

Most people I am sure would not be against a gay couple adopting a child if a Mum/Dad weren't available, but surely, that is still the standard upheld by everyone as serving the best interests of the child? Isn't it? If it isn't - please someone enlighten me why not? Is there some kind of hidden agenda here?

Such a standard does not imply that same sex couples are wierd or psychologically damaged, just that they are not the best.

The government should never have introduced this broad-brush Equality Act. It will lead to resentment of gays in the long term, because a basic social norm is not being seen to be given moral preference.

Whatever is going on with the Catholics now, this is the wider, damaging issue.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the two incidents this week that reveal an ugly underside to British society, the other being the wreckers in Devon. So much for the twin British virtues of law abidance and tolerance.

We should start by recognising that all are worthy of equal concern and respect. To discriminate against an individual on the basis of an immutable characteristic is morally repugnant. For me it matters not that the discrimination is dressed under the so-called legitimate cloak of religion. This form of discrimination is invidious and goes right to the core of human dignity. We are in effect saying that a class of people are second class citizens, i.e a denial of equality. Thus to the extent that religious rights clash with privacy rights, the religious rights must yield. Gay people have the right to a family life as much as straight people like me. If the children are going to be loved and cared for in their best interests then let gay couples adopt. Let's not forget that 1) becoming an adoptive parent is onerous (as if should be) and 2) gay people are really committed to this because they know they have to battle prejudice as well.

All the agencies need to do is stop taking the state's money if they think the issue one of such great principle. Their attitude is nothing short of blackmail. Time for all those who are outraged to send in their money.

Anonymous said...

The Druid

Dorset went wrong because of publicity the opportunists took over ,normally around the British coast ,anything found between high and low tides is flotsom and jetsom
and if of value you can store it. and you inform the Receiver of Wreck they will inform insurance/owner and if the insurance/owner dont wont it it's yours ,if they want it you can negociate it's called salvage ,its been going on for hundreds of years

HM Stanley said...

As a conservative who loves BR’s unwritten constitution, it pains me to say that this is one area where enumerated rights in a written constitution adjudicated by competent judges would probably have reached a more sensible conclusion than that by the ambitions of four politicians running for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party. [What is Gordo’s position anyway?]

It is silly to say you cannot opt out of equality. There are two sets of “rights” or “goods” here; the equality of gays and the right to free exercise of religion/conscience. For those interested in how this is dealt with stateside:

FIRST: Was the Sherbert test (1960s) Laws infringing/banning one’s exercise of religion essentially unconstitutional.

NEXT: Smith test (1980s) Laws burdening on religion exercise okay as long they affect all religions equally. [State could deny unemployment benefits to Native Americans fired because tested positive to peyote which they smoked as part of religious exercise]

NEXT: Congress (both conservative and liberals) get in act by passing Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which partially reinstates Sherbert. Laws unconstitutional if substantially burden religious exercise.

AND the struggle still goes on.

MY POINT: You can find plenty of faults with all this. What it recognizes, though, is that the process should be one of balancing rights and interest instead of declaring, ukase-like [as the secular militants, together with their high priests in NULAB are claiming], that can be “no opt out of equality”. Equualty is an important right/value, but surely it is not the only one, nor the pre-eminent one..or is it?

mister scruff said...

i agree with anon above at 7:53

it also raises all sorts of questions to do with placing kids with adoptive parents - for example, isnt putting a Jewish kid say with Jewish parents a form of "discrimination" , as that is clearly excluding non-Jewish adoptive parents.

But in terms of what is best for the kid, that decision is the right one isnt it?

In order to come to the right decision you just HAVE to engage in some sort of discrimation so that the kids background is taken into account and therefore matched with the most appropriate parents.

This "equality" legislation will now take that decision process out of the hands of the people most able to do it, and enforce BY LAW, a random, almost blind, matching of kids with adoptive parents - for fear of prosecution for being "discriminatory".

I wish people would see beyond the Catholic church/homphobia argument and really see the wood for the trees here - we're are sleepwalking into totalitarianism, step by step.

(and for the record, i'm not a catholic, i'm a libertarian atheist)

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:38. Thank you for that. But I know a thing or two about the Merhcant Shipping Act. My family has been in shipping for generations. Most of the Devon looters have no intention of following the law. Hence all the ebay auctions.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Church needs to understand that some of the children they are adopting out are gay. If they believe anything else then they are clearly in denial.

If you ask most (not all) gay people they will tell you that they were born gay. People do not (normally) become gay through life experience. Would the Catholic Church cast out a heterosexual couple if their child grew up to be gay? - I don't think so, or there would be some very empty churches.

They should do the Christian thing and think of the children. If I were the Catholic Church I would jump before I was pushed and pronounce it as their act of tolerance for other peoples values.

Let's face it if they allow gay couples to adopt, then they will be in the position to ensure only the most suitable gay couples adopt.

karswell said...

This thread really brings out the bores and nutters.

On the one hand we have bible bashers determined that we should equate acceptance of everything written in the bible with "christianity". That lot should push off back to Plymouth with the rest of their brethren and the wee frees.

Then we have the likes of Peter Hitchens who appears to think that because he (and his ilk) don't like the idea of homosexual acts, or for that matter, immigrants, this is in someway natural and their prejudices should be accepted. Most people are scared of what they don't understand but the people with real moral fibre confront their fears and manage to overcome them. (Biblebashers please note - this was Jesus' approach).

Finally we have a bunch of people who believe that we can legislate prejudices away. All this does is create a great deal of support for the likes of the Commission for Racial Equality and other useless quangos - oh yes and don't forget the lawyers merrily sipping champagne in the first class compartment of the "Human Rights" gravy train.

Stop interferring in our lives.

Anonymous said...

Despite being a Guardian-reading liberal I am going to disagree with Iain. The reason is, I think we are back to some of the issues raised by the story of the moslem who wouldn't sell cigarettes, or the B&B owners who would prefer not to have homosexuals.

As a liberal, I may not agree with their views, but I think it is also necessary to accept that nothing I can say or do is going to change their minds.

What would forcing the moslem lady to sell cigarettes achieve ? She would have to get another job and possibly be unemployed.

Would forcing a B&B owner to take everyone, even if they smoked, had children, or whatever, help ? They would simply choose to shut up shop.

I agree we can give the right to gay and lesbian couples to seek kids for adoption. To seek to force that on Catholics and other agencies who do not agree with it will not achieve anything - they'll shut up shop.

There always needs to be consideration of an opt-out for those with a conscience on this.

Iain, you also say that Catholics seem to equate homosexuality with paedophilia. I am not sure this is the case [but I'm not a Catholic] - it is probably fairer to say they equate it with fornication - both are sex outside marriage, which they view as sinful.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

I agree with much of what you say, and agreed with much of what Matthew Parris wrote in the Times today.

On the subject of the enforcement of equality legislation, I think all the arguments have been expressed. On the fundamental issue of gay adoption, however, I think one point is frequently overlooked; however able a couple are to provide a stable and loving environment for a child (and I have no doubt that many gay couples can do a lot better than many heterosexual couples), the child is almost certainly going to have to go to school with other children. As we all know from our own childhood, children are the undisputed masters at psychological torture of anyone who is different, and it would be a lucky adopted child that was not ostracised and ridiculed by his or her peers for having gay adoptive parents. Children aren't liberal or mature; they are astonishingly cruel to each other.

An adopted child needs everything in its favour. A stable and loving home is the most important factor, but a good chance of a happy schooling is also vital, and in my view gay adoption significantly lessens the chance of this.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

The real scandal is 60,900 children in care and only 3,700 adoptions per annum. Too many social workers play God, effectively blocking applications by prospective parents (gay, straight, whatever) who do not tick the right boxes. In particular, they prevent white middle class parents adopting black working class children. Institutional racism and class warfare; and they've been getting away with it for years.

westerlyman said...

This is another example of our political masters, who think they know better than us, trying to enforce their agenda on everyone through legislation.

Whethet you support the Catholic church's views (and I do not) Everyone should have the right to select with whom they will, and with whom they will not engage.

The other commenters who expressed this view are correct. The real issue is one of individual, or minority group, freedom of choice. We are all being told what to think by a bunch of nannying statists.

Gammarama said...

Best quote i heard on this was: "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve"!

Anonymous said...

Jonny Wright said...
Noel Slevin - have you read the Bible? Both Testaments? Christians have spent the past 2000 years picking and choosing.

What struck me most about the vitrolic debate on BBC's 'HYS' on this issue was the extent of the irrational generalisations made by both sides. Your generalisation here, Jonny, is irrational and untrue. Undoubtedly many Christians and religious people have spent the last 2000 years picking and choosing to suit themselves, but many have not.

On HYS, far too many Christians engaged in all manner of absurd generalisations about gay people and wrote of them as though they are the devil incarnate. Far too many of them gleefully stigmatised all gay people as sinful, disfunctional and a danger to children.

Equally, far too many of the gay people's lobby engaged in all manner of absurd generalisations about those of us who believe in God. Many of them gleefully stigmatised all Christians as mentally ill fundamentalists and bigots, the devil incarnate, and said all religion should be banned.

Frankly, I'm sick of the lot of you, all of you religious fundamentalist bigots and all of you gay fundamentalist bigots who stigmatise others in this way. You're an, equally bigoted, mirror image of each other.

I believe in God - though not religious fundamentalism in any shape or form, or institutionalised religion or the Bible as literal truth. So, I would be grateful if fundamentalist gay people and fundamentalist religious people will accept that not all religious people are the same.

I would be grateful too if religious fundamentalists would keep their ignorant views about gay people to themselves.

I would be equally grateful if gay people would accept that no one - no one - is going to ban my religion or my right to believe in God and respect my right to my life and beliefs just as I respect the rights and beliefs of gay people.

I strongly believe that gay people should be able to adopt children.

I equally strongly believe that religious fundamentalists have the right to pratice their bigoted beliefs by refusing to assist with adoptions of children by gay people.

Anonymous said...

yes Gammarama and BLIAR is a new slogan you may enjoy

Anonymous said...

anonymous @10:19

I'm not gay and I'm not Catholic but I do have three children. Believe me, kids today could not give a flying toss if your parents were aliens. All kids care about today is what clothes you wear and how cool you are. In the clothes and cool stakes, I think a kids brought up by gay parents would do better than most.

mister scruff said...

anon above is right. i was raised a catholic, and catholic doctrine on sexual relations is that it should *always* be for the reproduction of children, and never for the sexual act itself.

agree with it or not - that is their doctrine, as laid down by the current Pope and his predecessors.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to be homophobic to be sick to the back teeth of the increasingly raucous gay lobby loudly demanding that we give in to their every demand.

What makes it worse is that they seem to be backed up completely by the Government and the BBC with anyone who begs to differ being shouted down as a "fascist".

Jimbo said...

iain said

"I find it deeply offensive if anyone should suggest that gay couples are not capable of providing that love and stability. The underlying insinuation behind some of what the churches are saying on this issue is that kids who are adopted by gay parents are more likely to be led astray morally or even abused. they'll never say that outrightm but that's what some people still think."

So Iain is offended and therefore his view is the right one? If you can't produce what you want it is now normal to demand it from others.

Beachhutman said...

I thnk the whole thing has only blown up because the government is always trying to tell us what we must think and legislate to make us think in an approved way.

I don't see why the Catholic agencies can't make it quite clear that "We are legally obliged to consider you as adopters, we don't want to, we think you are unsuitable because of your homosexuality, and if there is a married couple applying for the same child we would prefer them to adopt the child. Or you can go elsewhere"

After all, the Benefits Agency is stuffed with civil servants who seem to think the unemployed are vagrants and wastels, and would rather not give them any money at all, but legally have to. They convey that very well.

Anonymous said...

Well done Iain. I think this is absolutely spot on. I'm sick of religious groups trying to opt out from society and I think your point on the alternative, i.e. care homes, is well made.

The whole point of laws to deliver equality on issues such as these is that they don't allow opt outs. If the Catholic church was saying that they refused to let people of Asian origin adopt then they would rightly be castigated. This is no different. People do not have a choice about their sexual orientation (regardless of what some homophobes believe).

Anonymous said...

Just out of interest - Is this English Law, or does it apply equally to all of John Reid's constituents as well?

Anonymous said...

I think the Catholic view should be respected. Its not new and is a deeply held belief.I fear this country is losing all sense of proportion. I think that labour is showing its true colours. 'There is no room for you unless you agree with us and if you dont agree we will pass a law to make you agree'.

Just where is this country going, its becoming a totalitarian state, and Iain I am very dissapointed at the line you have taken.

Ian Lewis said...

I realise I'm a bit late commenting but you're spot on Iain. What matters is that the 60,000 children in care are placed with loving parents in a stable environment. Why should discrimination, dressed up as ideology, get in the way of that? Too many adults today where failed by a social services system that, frankly, left them to rot.

Benedict White said...

Iain, I asked you for your position and to some extent you are have givin it, but to some extent I feel you have been unclear.

I am a Roman Catholic, my position on same sex sex is clear, as it is on fornication and adultory.

However I am also a sinner.

As a pragmatic conservative, I do not want to drive my morality or indeed hipocracy (bearing in mind I am a sinner) down any one elses throat.

I may think same sex sex is a sin, but so are lots of other things. As a matter of law, you can't outlaw sin. Nor indeed should you try.

However people do have faith views, and incedently it is now Catholics, Anglicans and Muslims (or at least their "leaders") who take a different view to what is proposed.

You may think it is a question of homophobia, but I certainly do not mean it that way. On this issue, well you answer to God for your sins, and I will answer to God for mine, I will probably be longer at it.

The question is twofold.

Firstly is there an issue to fix? Do you feel disciminated against in any practical sense, and if so, can you get around it without too much trouble?

Secondly is this country big enough for divergent veiws? Is there room for genuine dissagrent where we are allowed to take a different view?

Anonymous said...

If were are to be concerned about the adopted child's welfare, the commments made by Anon. 10.19 should be considered. Further, could someone comment on what happens when the child starts questioning about the 'birds and bees' would a gay couple promulgate 'gayness' or what?

chatterbox said...

This should never have become the "hot potato" it has. As someone who thought "about bl**dy time" when civil partnerships were introduced and gay couples was recognised to be as acceptable as married, cohabiting or single adopter's there should be no argument.
I think that Catholic agencies should be exempt simple on the "issue" of Faith, because I think that both the government and the gay community have to recognise that you cannot legislate away the teachings and beliefs of a religion but must instead debate or persuade.
On this issue it would be unfair to accuse the Catholic of homophobia, they have NOT singled the gay community out but have chosen instead to staunchly defend beliefs or teaching which has been a fundamental part of their Faith.
Equally people are quick to criticise their views on abortion and contraception in the present day modern world with all the new challenges we face.
This is beginning to sound like a witch hunt on the very right for the Roman Catholic Church to actually hold it's beliefs.
I am torn over this issue because I am catholic and vehemently pro equality, but I don't feel I should have to choose between the two in Law.

Man in a shed said...

Iain - you say I find it deeply offensive if anyone should suggest that gay couples are not capable of providing that love and stability - The Christian equivalent takes place already with social services taking exactly that line in some parts of the country with Christian couples. See yesterday's DT here - and I can also back this up from family experience.

David Lindsay said...

Twenty-five per cent of adoptors in this country are Catholic, and that is the problem from the point of view of those behind the current furore over the future of the Catholic adoption agencies. It is not only perfectly reasonable to surmise, but in fact impossible for any reasonable person to fail to realise, that the destruction of those agencies is the whole point of this legislation.

This is not about homosexuality, but about marriage, and about the view that children are best brought up by a married couple, which, as much in point of legal fact as anything else, the parties to a civil partnership are not. (Yes, I was brought up from the age of 13 by a widowed mother. But that is wholly different from contriving such a situation, never mind a situation in which a paternal, or indeed a maternal, influence has been altogether excluded.) This view is no doubt held by a sizeable proportion of the population, and has long been one of the extensive list of popular views to hold which is to be disenfranchised.

Those behind this legislation hate the Catholic Church, with Her concentration in Scotland, the North, the Midlands, and the working-class parts of London; with her unyielding, wholly coherent view encompassing bioethics, sexual morality, social justice, environmental responsibility, and world peace; and with Her large following among middle-class people with working-class family backgrounds, a post-War phenomenon the very existence of which is in no small measure due to the Catholic school system, the only reason why those who hate "faith schools" do so.

Pity these poor provincials and arrivistes in the face of by far the richest and most powerful section of society. It knows so well that it does not really need to do anything in order to get its own way, that it will even put up so unserious a figure as Johann Hari as its spokesman on The Moral Maze.

Hari has the look, voice, views and style (whether spoken or written) of a particularly tiresome type of over-excited undergraduate. And he did not disappoint, repeatedly comparing the Catholic Church to the Ku Klux Klan, and at one point even describing John Cornwell's perfectly ludicrous Hitler's Pope as "the historical record"! Hari needs to grow up, and the Independent needs to grow up by not employing him at least until he does so.

But then, everyone needs to grow up who seriously countenances the proposition that the mere inclination to engage in homosexual acts is somehow fundamental to any personal or collective identity, as if that inclination were comparable to sex, or ethnicity, or even class, or for that matter even religion or political persuasion.

In point of fact, this preposterous proposition originated only in the late 1960s at the very earliest, on an underground nightclub scene around the sexual abuse of adolescent boys in coastal American cities, through and then from which it spread in the 1970s, not least into a Catholic Church which had lost Her nerve in many Western countries in the face of the insistence of certain pre-existing factions that the Second Vatican Council had endorsed their agenda when it had not done, and actually could not have done, any such thing. We all know what happened next.

Cinnamon said...

For those who want to legalise discrimination again, where would you stop, and, could you?

Religion is an actively chosen belief and so can be changed, because it is a view you take, whereas homosexuality, race, gender and disability are a basic condition of life that is non-negotiable.

And, would you not agree that not discriminating against anyone in public life is the basis of our modern society?

Of course you cannot legislate to enforce friendship between people, but you can (and must) make rules about public life being an equal playing field where people need to put their believes aside to accommodate the unchangeable
condition of others.

As Wafa Sultan said to the Mullah: Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me.

cha said...

You big poof

chatterbox said...

"Religion is an actively chosen belief and so can be changed, because it is a view you take, whereas homosexuality, race, gender and disability are a basic condition of life that is non-negotiable."
Cinnamon, you are wrong and right in that order. You cannot just "change" the views of a 60 year Catholic any more than you can "change" some one who is gay. Religious belief versus sexuality, why should we have to make that choice by law?
This is exactly why this should never have become a point of principle for or against homosexuality in the form of legislation!
I repeat you cannot legislate to overcome someone's believes, that is why although abortion is quite rightly legal in this country, some people will choose not to do it on the grounds of their beliefs and no one would criticise them for it.

cha said...

Er, perhaps more seriously.

JONNY WRIGHT! READ THIS POST!

You are dead wrong. The reason Christians do not live by a number of laws and imprecations in the Old Testament is because they are explicitly discontinued by the achievement of Christ in the New (for his victory over sin, hell and death allows a readier access to grace and blessing). So, nothing is unclean, all can be eaten and worn to the glory of God, etc, etc. (See Peter's dream, Romans 14:14, etc, etc). They are minor regulatory laws. The old 10 Commandments are accomplished by Christ - that is, sealed and established forever upon and through his sacrifice. So they remain.

Homosexuality is prohibited in BOTH Old and New Testaments. If you'd read them you'd know this. (Have a look at Romans 1:22-32, for instance. Gay is still a Sin).

So, er, you are a bit wrong.

Anonymous said...

Cinnamon.

"Religion is an actively chosen belief and so can be changed, because it is a view you take, whereas homosexuality, race, gender and disability are a basic condition of life that is non-negotiable."

Am I to assume that this applies to paedophilia and bestiality as well?

Cinnamon said...

Chatterbox said: "Cinnamon, you are wrong and right in that order. You cannot just "change" the views of a 60 year Catholic any more than you can "change" some one who is gay. Religious belief versus sexuality, why should we have to make that choice by law?"

A belief is something that you have personally and actively formed an opinion on, and also, as you get older, you often change your outlook on life as you get wiser. It is not something that is ever settled in stone, and that is good so, as your soul needs the extra space to grow ;)

Whereas sexuality, gender, race or disability is not chosen, but what we are, it is immutable.

Btw, there are some religious people who believe that disabled people have been punished by god(s). They would argue that their religious belief entitles them to discriminate against the disabled. Would you also defend them and their religious point of view with your line of reasoning?

realist said...

I do wish people would not keep getting so worked up over so called equality. I agree that there are some aspects of equality that are based on intolerance and hate. In the main these type of issues appear to be in the process of being dealt with, ie race ,colour, religion, sexual preference etc. Thereis a long way to go on some of these issues but the main aspects are being tackled.

Many instances that are often quoted as inequality can, I feel be referred to as jealousy. If the word equality is substituted by jealousy in many cases the the context of the arguement does not seem to change much. What a lot of people fail to realise is, that much of life isn't fair and it never has been.

I can't join the types of clubs that Beckham would go to, because I havn't got his money, or skill. That is not equal surely, I accept it as a fact and find a club that will accept me and have a good night out. How many of us will get an upgrade to fist class on airlines, is that equal?, No it's not, it is just tough.

I do not see the gay adoption issue as an equality matter. The Catholic Church has not stated that gays are bad parents, neither are they trying to persecute gays. All they are doing is maintaining a religious stance they have held for centuries. Any gay couples out there that wish to adopt should get real and look for an organisation that will accomodate them, there are are others out there.

It is so refreshing to see that the gay lobby are now becoming the Bigots. It all goes to show, politicians still have not learnt
that over regulation cannot change attitudes. All it does is alters the swing of the moral pendulum. Why as a society do we have to be at each others throats on every issue?

What a Bloody horrible race we are.

Voyager said...

Jon Snow made the point to Harman last night that this is the thin end of the wedge.

Labour MPs want to destroy religion in schools which suggests the Voucher System is the only way forward so parents can fund private religious schools and those aligned with Labour can go to godless schools.

If The State is to be the fount of all morality and determine what may be thought or said or believed, it is time to undo the 1689 Settlement and start anew

Voyager said...

I do wish people would stop trying to be so silly over dietary rules in the Old Testament -

read the XXXIX Articles of The Church of England


ARTICLE VII

VII. Of the Old Testament.
THE Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man. Wherefore there are not to be heard which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises.

Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.

Chris said...

> However, in this case I do not believe that you can say to one religious group: "It's OK, you don't have to obey the same law as everyone else".

Sikhs are exempt from the law on wearing a crash helmet. Is gay adoption a more, or a less, important matter of conscience? (I'm not against gay adoption; I am against forcing agencies who are against it to facilitate it.)

Anonymous said...

If there is to be no concession whatsoever to people's religious beliefs if the law of the land demand complience

then

why

are religious groups alowed to slaughter animals in a way that is cruel and abhorrent to the majority of the population?

Is this not discrimination?

chatterbox said...

Btw, there are some religious people who believe that disabled people have been punished by god(s). They would argue that their religious belief entitles them to discriminate against the disabled. Would you also defend them and their religious point of view with your line of reasoning?
Cinnamon, when you move the argument on to this kind of emotive example, then we are not discussing the same thing any more but rather your view of religion in general.
As I said this is now turning into a "witch hunt" on people's beliefs and that is very sad.

Voyager said...

there are some religious people who believe that disabled people have been punished by god(s

They are called Hindus....but they also accept that this is a Christian country by heritage and culture. That is why we do not require everyone to believe what the government believes - shocking as that is to members of a Labour Govt.

Doctors do not do abortions if it is against conscience - they refer elsewhere.

Pharmacists do not have to supply abortion pills but can refer elsewhere

Conscientious Objectors are not shot as traitors

Peter O said...

I've come in late on this but let me raise one or two points.

i) Mutability of sexuality - some of the posts above have argued from the basis that same-sex attraction is immutable. That's simply not the case. In my early to mid twenties I was exclusively homosexual in my attraction. Now in my early thirties I am happily married and predominantly heterosexual in my inclinations. Sexual attraction is fluid, we still have no real evidence of a biological causation, and that leads me to be very cautious of a law that seems to treat sexual orientation (something which we still cannot biologically determine) in the same manner as race or sex (where we only need to have a look at someone's DNA to work it out).

ii) The Executive of this country seem to be forgetting that the Protestant variety of the Christian Faith is enshrined into our very being. The monarch is crowned in an explicitly Christian ceremony; public funerals are Christian; Parliament opens each day with prayer to the Triune God. It seems almost schizoid of the Government to introduce legislation that makes the simple living out of that Triune faith illegal (making a moral choice of actions and the non-supporting of others' actions which would be contrary to Scripture). If we did not have an established religion it would be different, but at the moment the Government seems to want to have what it wants from the churches yet to ignore them on crucial ethical issues.

iii) The far more disturbing aspect of this new Regulation is the ability it gives for anybody to "take offence" of the actions of language of another. While as an ordained Priest of the Church of England I would be protected from prosecution for preaching the Good News of Sexual Redemption in Christ, members of my congregation would not if somebody chose to find it offensive. Furthermore, the law as it stands in NI would leave the accused to prove their innocence, not the prosecutor to prove guilt. Such a basic assault on Habeus Corpus is outrageous. To add to this malaise, the man chosen to decide whether to prosecute such cases is Ben Summerskill in his new role on the Equalities Commission. That's like asking David Cameron to decide whether Blair gets prosecuted for Loans for Peerages...

Right, that's enough for a Friday morning.

Anonymous said...

Iain - well written argument, I agree with most of what you say.

Peter Hitchens - you really are scum. Most women would feel uncomforable in your presence I would imagine so we can't take being comfortable as criteria for legislation other you would be fucked. You are very sad little man with nothing intelligent to say.

While I respect the right of people to hold religious views, there is no way the government can agree to a compromise on this issue. If a group of rascists decided to declare themselves as a religion we would not concede to their demands would we?

Anonymous said...

Hi I find nulabour repulsive, not all labour voting people. I find religious zealots repulsive not all religious people.I find the act of homosexual activity repulsive, not homosexual people. I don't like Labour, I don't like religion, I don't like homosexuality, I don't like politics, especially when it tries to legislate on the above.

Anonymous said...

Shouldnt law reflect the views of the society and how they wish to be governed?

This law is utterly ridiculous, as is this government, as are the PC morons who cannot see the futility of their experiment, or the totally illogical views they hold and the fact that this socialist strategy of trying to outlaw all expression of independent thought.

Now you understand why they lie all the time, its part of their culture. It's ok yo think one thing yet have to behave differently in public, rather than be honest.

i want to cry

cassander said...

Here's another angle: as mister scruff said: "the catholic doctrine on sexual relations is that it should *always* be for the reproduction of children".
Now the problem is that most (heterosexual) couples who want to adopt do so *because they can't have children 'by normal means'*. In other words, either or both of the spouses are sterile - and these days, you usually know this - it's not too hard to find out.
But if these couples are having sex, then it isn't for reproductive reasons, so they are in breach of Catholic doctrine anyway!
Does this not make a nonsense of the whole argument?

Anonymous said...

two loving parents. The norm is that they are brought up by parents of the opposite sex. ..Says Iain..what does that mean exactly ?

Iain is so sure that Gay men can be same as a mother and father. How does he know ? He does not and never will ,which may well be sad , but there it is . With endless stable couples frustrated by the appalling adoption process it is somewhat bizarre that we need legislation at this micro level to be bring about circumstances of dubious value for anyone.

I doubt any great harm will come of two daddy families but I detest this sort of bullying. Great damage is being done to the very cordial relations that exist between gay and straight people.


Peter Hitchens is not scum Law Bunny and you do not speak on behalf of "Women " you speak on behalf of a woman . You. Don`t be so pompous .

( Please)

Anonymous said...

Well said, Iain.

Anonymous said...

I like the points 'benedict white' and 'man in a shed' make. I'm not Catholic and find their views on contraception baffling and their view on abortion unhelpful. But to pretend that I can legislate such views out of existence rather than persuade by argument and debate is foolish.

There is far too little recourse to debate and argument today - passing yet more laws is deemed to be the answer to all of life's problems.

When you fail to garner the support of a reasonable man like John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, then you know that you're on shaky ground.

billybag said...

lawbunny said...
While I respect the right of people to hold religious views, there is no way the government can agree to a compromise on this issue. If a group of rascists decided to declare themselves as a religion we would not concede to their demands would we?
9:43 AM


Isn't this what Hindus do with their caste system? don't we hail India as a developed democracy while ignore the apartheid?

Nicholas Bennett said...

Iain

I was disappointed that your support for the Government's action appeared to be based on your emotions & and what you find 'deeply offensive' rather than on the principle of freedom of thought and action. You slip in such remarks as “A friend of mine rather cruelly said he's have more sympathy with that argument if the Catholic church got its own house in order on that subject (of paedophilia)”. This is the classic straw man technique quote an unamed person who makes an irrelevant comment on a key issue of moral priniciple and then use it to condemn a religion and an alternative viewpoint lock stock and barrel.

The central point is that the state is now seeking to force religions (and it is not just the Catholic Church which holds that the homosexual act is intrinsically wrong) to act in a way which is against the central beliefs of their teaching. Promoting such a law is undemocratic.

Adoption is not like a commercial service such as a hotel or a shop. Catholics, other Christian faiths, Jews and Muslims believe that children, wherever possible, should be brought up in a family comprising a man and a woman. They believe that it is not in the best interest of the child for it to be brought up by a same sex couple who live a homosexual lifestyle. Those who seek a Catholic Adoption agency for the placement of a child do so in the knowledge that this is the Church's teaching and belief. If a free society has any meaning then it must include the right of churches to act in accordance with their teaching.

The Catholic Church refuses communion to those who are not Catholics, it does not conduct 'homosexual' marriages. Will the next step be to force them to do so?

One of the reasons I joined the Conservative Party in 1966 at the age of 16 was because I believed that it would defend freedom of speech, thought and action within a democratic framework. I hope that the Party will have the courage to defend the democratic rights of people of different Christian faiths and of Islam and Judaism to continue to hold what they see as essential truths, whether or not others disagree with them.

Anonymous said...

billybag said...
lawbunny said...
While I respect the right of people to hold religious views, there is no way the government can agree to a compromise on this issue. If a group of rascists decided to declare themselves as a religion we would not concede to their demands would we?
9:43 AM


Isn't this what Hindus do with their caste system? don't we hail India as a developed democracy while ignore the apartheid?

12:05 PM

Billybag
a) so if someone else is doing it we can too? Great argument.
b)The Caste system is a deeply complex (if flawed) system and I am not sure what kind of comparison it has to the issue at hand.
c) wanna duke it out? ; )

Anonymous said...

nicholas bennett makes the very valid point that Catholic Agencies are used because the birth parent wishes their child to be brought up in a family with catholic christian ethics. Surely they have a right to do so -the human rights act is used to justify anything these days so it must infringe upon a parent's human right not to have their child brought up in the way they wish, even if they personally do not think that they can cope with a child.

As for Tony Blair etc -they so blatantly put their own advancement before any code of conduct or belief that disgust is all one feels for them. They are not backward at using Christian beliefs if it wins a few votes.

Voyager said...

I think Reform of the House of Commons is essential if it is to survive.

Perhaps replacing General Elections with a Rule of Thirds would reduce the power of the Party Machine.

Every two years a third of MPs to stand for re-election would directly affect government majorities and ensure more fluidity in government

Matt Davis said...

At a time when adoption in the UK is disgracefully low, mainly due to the increasingly insane politically correct reasons for refusal, such as that black children are better off in care than placed with a white family or that children cannot be placed with smokers, it seems equally insane to object to any stable couple, whatever their gender makeup, giving a child a chance of a family upbringing rather than a childhood in the impersonal "care" of the local authority.If this debate really is about the best interests of the children, and not homophobic prejudice, then gay adoption should be supported where the adopters are going to create a safe, stable family existence for a child in need. Nothing else really ought to matter.

Colin D. said...

Dear Anonymous; You have in a nut shell. Did you see/hear that fat bitch AKA D.A. on "This week" last night. She is in deep need of something putting in her mouth & hand cuffing. Fat twat.

Vienna Woods said...

This dreadfully mishandled piece of legislation is just another example of how the minority PC people and general agitators are able to manipulate New Labour politicians. Instead of doing something useful they go around in circles seeking out new attention grabbing headlines that they comment upon. Some of the utter nonsense that has been spouted by both sides of the argument irritates me more than the subject matter.

Several people corresponding with newspapers and the various blogs start off by saying, "I am a Christian, but I don't go to Church!" It's like saying I'm a member of a golf club, but I don't play golf. I am a Catholic and I do go to Church. I also know the problems with some priests and not just within the Catholic Church either. I can well understand the nervousness of the majority of people regarding homosexual parents. I wouldn't want my kids seeing any of their antics. From my own point of view I have nothing against adults doing things in private, but introducing a child into the equation is abhorrent!

Iain Dale said...

Vienna Woods, you are just the sort of person I was referring to. You say "I wouldn't want my kids seeing any of their antics." Do you know, funnily enough, nor would I. Nor, if I was straight would I want my kids to see 'my straight antics' either.

Why is is that you think a gay parent would be any more likely to 'corrupt' a child than a straight one? The answer is clear. It's because you are homophobic, whether you recognise it or not.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I know you aren't as guilty of 'BBC' bashing as some others blogs I could mention. But I do find it very disappointing how many people slate the BBC for being full of Guardianista liberals. And slate the Guardian for being full of 'Politically Correct numbskulls' or whatever vituperation they can conjure up. I agree their views aren't always to everyone's taste - but they do express views which are rather more modern and in touch with the more diverse nation we are.

I find it singularly depressing how willing people are to stick up for the Daily Mail and its hateful bile, just waiting for some other groups to spill its vitriol over.

I think it is worth you reminding people that the BBC does try and give those so-called 'PC' minorities a voice in the darkness of hatred.

Anonymous said...

NEWS FLASH! - Believe it or not some people are Gay.

The men at the top of the Catholic Church are well educated intelligent men. I do not for one second believe that they believe men and women cannot be naturally Gay. You cannot stick your head in the sand and hope that something you know is true will just go away.
It's about time someone at the top said:
While we accept their are Gay people in our society, we will continue to promote Heterosexual partnerships. However we will not discriminate against Gay couples.

For anyone to believe that some people in our society are not naturally Gay is ridiculous.

Let's face it if they allow gay couples to adopt, then they will be in the best position to ensure only the most suitable gay couples adopt.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2007040307,00.html

Anonymous said...

An e-petition has been started up at the No 10 website calling for Ruth Kelly to be removed as Equalities Minister. She may be a good MP and a conscientious Minister, but her membership of Opus Dei makes her completely unsuitable for her current position, as this debate has shown.

Vienna Woods said...

Total rubbish Ian! As far as I know you are not a parent and therefore do not possess a parent's natural protective instincts. I have a right to try my best to keep my daughter out of harms way. Glibly talking about a homosexual couple being able to offer a child the same parental love as a heterosexual couple is a fantasy. The definition of Homophobia includes the word "prejudiced" and I've already stated that what adults do in private is OK by me. I have two friends who are openly gay and I don't feel uncomfortable with them. I do reserve the right however to be of the opinion that the homosexual lobby have far too much influence on this government relative to their numbers.

Voyager said...

Why is is that you think a gay parent would be any more likely to 'corrupt' a child than a straight one? The answer is clear. It's because you are homophobic, whether you recognise it or not.

Iain do you remember a Family Court case not long ago ? I believe a divorced woman had custody of her child(ren) and had subsequently started a relationship with another woman...whether she had a civil partnership or not I don't know.

Anyway when this relationship cratered the Judge awarded custody of the children to her former lesbian partner on the basis that she had been the better mother.

I also know of a case in Canada where a wife divorced her husband, gained custody of the children, and married her girlfriend such that the stranged father had to move nearby to see his children.

I think family law is complex enough without getting it compleely tangled with the whole surrogate business etc.

Somewhere we must start to think things out before piecemeal actions by politicians seeking favour with their party rather than the public legislate us into the point where Parliament is held in supreme contempt (a point I feel I have reached).

Anonymous said...

Did you know that Vienna Woods is actually the "Wienerwald" to use it's German name. Apparently according to Wikipedia it is populated by a wild boar - sorry I mean some wild boar.

no longer anonymous said...

I think this sums it up nicely:

STATEMENT BY THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE ON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil libertiespolicy institute, today issues the following statement on the legitimacyof anti-discrimination laws. This statement is prompted by the continuingdebate over the Equality Act 2006, which allows the British Government tooutlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Libertarian Alliance Director, Dr Sean Gabb, says: "Every person has the right to life and justly-acquired property, and todo with his own whatever does not infringe the equal rights of others. "From this primary right can be derived all the rights of the liberaltradition - freedom of expression and contract and association, togetherwith security against oppressive or arbitrary behaviour by the State. "It does not generate any right not to be hated or despised or shunned. "It does not justify laws against discrimination on the grounds of race,sex, religion or sexual orientation, or laws against expressing orinciting hatred against any group. "If someone chooses, for whatever reason, not to employ homosexualsbecause of their homosexuality - or not to rent property to them, or notto provide other paid services to them - that is his right within theliberal tradition. By such behaviour, he is not committing any aggressionagainst others. He is merely exercising his right NOT to associate or NOTto contract. No one who is thereby refused suffers any harm that is,within the liberal tradition, to be considered actionable. "The same reasoning fully applies to discrimination on the other groundsof race, sex and religion. "By forcing people to associate with or contract with persons whom theywould otherwise reject, anti-discrimination laws are an attack on life andproperty. They are a form of coerced association. They give some peopleuncompensated claims on others. They amount to a form of slavery mediatedby the State. "Politically correct authoritarians like to hail each new set ofanti-discrimination laws as an extension of human rights. Such laws are infact violations of the only human rights that mean anything. "The Libertarian Alliance does not advocate or condone any act ofdiscrimination, but defends the right of others to discriminate and topreach discrimination." END OF STATEMENT The Libertarian Alliance believes: * That the Equality Act 2006 should be repealed, together with alldelegated legislation made thereunder;:* That the Commission for Equality and Human Rights set up under the aboveAct should be abolished at the first opportunity, and that all its recordsshould be destroyed;* That the records of the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commissionfor Racial Equality, and the Disability Rights Commission should bedestroyed;* That those sections of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the RaceRelations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the RaceRelations (Amendment) Act 2000, and the Disability Discrimination Act 2005not already repealed by the Equality Act 2006 should be immediatelyrepealed;* That any organisation arguing against the above should receive no publicfunding. END OF COPY

Heron said...

Three points:

1. I do not understand why this has been brought up by the Government. There are no shortage of opportunities for gay couples to adopt, indeed Catholic agencies refer any such couples elsewhere. This smacks of the government picking a totally unnecessary fight.

2. I don't know about conscience - personally I have no objections to gay people and think that they should be given equal treatment in all walks of life - but... I'm sorry if anyone's offended by my saying this, I have grave difficulty accepting the fact that children of same-sex couples can have a normal upbringing, especially during adolescence, where a daughter of a gay couple or a son of a lesbian couple would not be able to glean help and information of their parents about the serious bodily changes that they have to deal with. Quite simply, there are some things that can only be learned from a man, others from a woman. It may not square with some people's version of equality, but it is a valid point. After all, I would like to think this law has been made with the children in mind - though I suspect that was its tertiary aim behind satisfying the gay lobby and having a pop at the Church. Until scientific studies prove that my assumptions are wrong, I will continue to feel this way. This is not homophobic, it is my logic - I hope in a way I am wrong.

3. Iain suggests we substitute "Catholic" for "Muslim". I have, and I can guarantee that this bill would never have been bought were it Muslim adoption agencies that were involved. I can also guarantee that many of the same voices having a go at the Catholic Church would be defending Muslims. I can also guarantee there would have been a violent reaction from the Muslim community and the word "racist" would have occurred every few seconds.

A very badly thought out bill whose outcome will satisfy no-one.

Forest fires said...

Vienna Woods - you are hideous and should be ashamed of yourself. A child would clearly be more damaged by your vitriolic nature than by an open intelligent homosexual parents' so I feel sorry, very sorry for your kids. Why don't you put them up for adoption and hopefully someone sane like Iain will take them off your hands and give them a decent education.

Anonymous said...

Well done Iain. Discrimination is discrimination, whatever the apparent justification.

Anonymous said...

The real issue is not to do with homosexuality--the issue is that the people of this country are having the tyrannical "values" of insolant, arrogant and aggressive leftist scum forced down their throats. I'm not an admirer of the Catholic Church but I hope that they not only defy this law but use some of their considerable wealth to hire muscle and give any government thugs sent against them a hiding.

Anonymous said...

Iain -you asked for restraint in posting comments - opinions are sincerely held so why do some have to be so personally vitriolic.
That is prejudice under the cloak of liberty and not true liberty at all.

Anonymous said...

Why is is that you think a gay parent would be any more likely to 'corrupt' a child than a straight one? The answer is clear. It's because you are homophobic, whether you recognise it or not. ……

That may be fairish given the precise choice of words, but the word homophobic is being used to justify privileges for homosexuals not enjoyed by anyone else who may be subject to “discrimination” by which I mean normal judgement. We have no idea whether a homosexual pair are more or less likely to corrupt a child , there is no history of it on which to base such a judgement . A homosexual man is equally ignorant of the outcome and can no more speak for homosexuals than I can for heterosexuals .Is it so unreasonable to err decidedly on the side of caution with children, a natural instinct and a good one.
One of the problems with allowing an exception on religious grounds is at once that precedent is established then any number of bizarre conclusions may follow. Perhaps the pagans might prefer to be allowed to drink the blood of sacrificial Virgins in the manner preordained over thousands of years albeit subject to the dead weight of politically correct laws framed by an irreligious elite. It is clear of course that we have flourishing religions in this country who might very well want to make use of such a precedent for establishing an alternative legal system . This is the problem with framing exceptions on a logic that draws its authority from “faith”. Such considerations have certainly been among the concerns of MP`s in areas of London where they might expect to encounter the results of ill considered laws.

If we were to start from the more mundane statement that a mother and father would be the best arrangement for a child we can proceed without resort to an authority not accepted by most participants in the adoption of the democracy we live in. Such a statement of opinion is , it would seem , illegal from someone who has authority in the domain of caring for children. We have an abysmal system where white parents are routinely denied adoption should the child be black and any would be adopter is regarded as a paedophile until it is proved otherwise over an 18month assault course .It is somewhat out of step not to “discriminate “ ie make a judgement , against a brace of gay men given the overwhelming likelihood the child will have normal sexual inclinations. Additionally why would two men who happen to enjoy certain hobbies be allowed special privileges unavailable to two men who enjoy train spotting and making marmalade. Why then should any composite we can imagine not be given special protection against “discrimination”?. We have previously noted the incursion of “anti discrimination “ of a most illiberal sort from which it is hard to see any good coming .
These privileges over and above those afforded others stem from the predominance of a gay Lobby in the media and politics. This over representation is , ironically enough , in my experience , a consequence of surplus funds , time and emotion which those of us supporting families do not have.

I have quite a few gay friends who I like and admire. I am happy to make such points to them in the hope that it would be clear my views did not spring form hatred and fear. I would less comfortable to discuss their likely eternal torment in a religious context….Such views are likely to be unhelpful politically in my humble opinion…and they will only giggle.

That Iain is the question . Do you wish the opinion and judgement that a mother and a father are likely to be the best alternative for the child something so abhorrent that it
should be prescribed by the state. That it is in defiance of the wishes of the majority is perhaps less important but still true. That it has been brought about by a small and highly motivated lobby is also something of a concern .

Anonymous said...

This is the definitive answer to this issue:

http://tinyurl.com/qugjs