Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Romney vertical file grows

Romney files 'religious freedom' bill on church and gay adoption (Must be a quirk of the Massachusetts legislative system that the executive branch can 'file' bills with the legislative.)

By Brooke Donald, Associated Press Writer | March 15, 2006

BOSTON --Gov. Mitt Romney filed a bill Wednesday that would exempt the Boston Archdiocese's Catholic Charities from a state anti-discrimination law that says it must provide adoption services to gay and lesbian couples.

Romney's bill, "An Act Protecting Religious Freedom," would exempt religious organizations from the state's anti-discrimination requirements when providing adoption or foster placement services. He said the exemption would not allow discrimination based on race, creed, national origin, gender or handicap.

The Republican governor, who is a potential candidate for president in 2008, said he was concerned that the legal requirement that gays be given equal consideration as prospective adoptive parents violated Catholic Charities' religious beliefs.

"It is a matter beyond dispute, and a prerequisite to the preservation of liberty, that government not dictate to religious institutions the moral principles by which they are to carry out their charitable and divine mission," Romney said in a letter to House and Senate leaders.

He said Catholic Charities' withdrawal from providing adoption services creates a void in the child welfare system.

"In this case, the needs of children must come before the rights of adults," he said.

I'm all for this, of course. I'm just considering which would be the better way of going about it. Given there is a Republican governor of the commonwealth who seems quite eager to go to bat for the Catholic Church, that's certainly a good thing. The courts would be another avenue as far as pursuing religious freedom, though given the slant of the courts in Massachusetts, that might not be the most effective way of going about it even though a court ruling would have the effect of going nationwide if the case was litigated past the state level. That would take years and dollars that Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese doesn't have.

With 08 around the corner, Mitt continues to make a case for himself on social issues. We'll see what else has up his sleeve. Plus, he'd better start coming to Iowa a bit more often.

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