When the transitional assembly sought to defer the introduction of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006, there was a concerted attempt to frame the debate within a particular, localised, context. In the end the vote was tied, and the motion fell, through the application of a controversial and recently introduced measure whereby a deceased MLA’s vote was cast against it. In England and Wales though, that localised context doesn’t apply, and it’s the Catholic Church which is leading the oppposition to the Equality Act, threatening the closure of their 12 adoption agencies unless they are granted an exemption from the provisions it contains. Update Related post hereThe Guardian report quotes the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman
Mr Blair’s official spokesman said: “This is an issue with sensitivities on all sides and the prime minister recognises that, and that is why it is worth having some discussions in government before we come to a decision”.
“The key thing we have to remember in all of this is the interests of the children concerned and that there are arguments on both sides.
“This is not a straightforward black-and-white issue. This is an issue where there are sensitivities on all sides and we have to respect those but equally find a way through.”
And the statement by Cardinal Murphy-O’Cormac
Cardinal Murphy-O’Cormac released a letter the church had sent to Downing Street, saying: “We believe it would be unreasonable, unnecessary and unjust discrimination against Catholics for the government to insist that if they wish to continue to work with local authorities, Catholic adoption agencies must act against the teaching of the church and their own consciences by being obliged in law to provide such a service.”