Conversion of Saint Paul, apostle
Bolding is mine throughout.
As government ministers last night (24 January 2007) made it clear that they would not bow to strong pressure from Catholic and Anglican leaders who wish to retain the right for church-sponsored adoption services to refuse lesbian and gay couples, Harriet Harman, Minister for Justice at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, has reminded churches that it is not possible to be “a bit opposed to discrimination”.
Ms Harman, a QC, MP and former UK Solicitor General, made the comment in an interview which appears today (25 January 2007) in the News Statesman magazine. Ms Harman is bidding for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party, and she has been backed by US Catholic politician Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to have run for national office in the USA as the nominee of a major party – the Democrats.
The article goes on, describing how critics think the Church is blackmailing and how the Archbishop of Westminster's efforts have backfired...
Tony Blair today sought to quell the row over gay adoptions, insisting he was "committed to finding a way through this sensitive and difficult decision".
Proposals to resolve the dispute will be brought forward next week, the prime minister said in a statement.
Reports today suggested that Mr Blair had "caved in" to cabinet colleagues who do not want to see any exemption for Catholic adoption agencies from new regulations that will require them to offer children to same-sex couples.
Mr. Blair's comments from the same article:
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."
Oh ho! So it's about ending discrimination against gay couples versus the welfare of the child? I guess freedom of conscience doesn't weigh in there at all...
From the same article:
Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris (Oxford West and Abingdon), a member of the National Secular Society, told Today: "In my view, if people want to provide services, or engage in welfare work using state money, or under a system co-ordinated by the state, they have to accept they can't discriminate."
Dr Harris added that, at the same time, such people should not "proselytise" either.
Remember, readers, what other system of thought in the world does not like it when Christians 'proselytise'? An instructive thought, is it not?
EDIT: I forgot an article I wanted to which I wanted to link: the one at Gay.com. It's a great article.
After much spin, threats of blackmail and swirling rumours, it seems that for now, the Catholic church will have to accept gay adoptions. Despite the Anglicans joining the fray, the education secretary, Alan Johnson, today confirmed reports that the Catholic church has lost its battle for special treatment over gay adoption rules.
The no-frills statement brings to an end weeks of speculation over the issue, fuelled by the idea that Tony Blair and the communities secretary, Ruth Kelly - were sympathetic to the concerns of the Catholic church. It seems that the apparent Catholic fringe have been forced to back down at the prospect a full-blown cabinet revolt.
That is a powerful intro! Progressive journalism at its best!