While the focus is elsewhere..

With Prime Minister Tony Blair attempting to quiet the storm around the churches’ objections to the Equality Act, by both supporting the Act as is and promising to announce “a way through this sensitive and difficult decision” next week, in Scotland – where an exemption was seemingly granted to religious adoption agencies – the Catholic Church wants the Scottish Parliament to confirm those previously given commitments. In all of this BBC’s Nick Robinson thinks there will be no blanket exemption but notes that the loudest Cabinet voices are “All are running for deputy leader.” Including a certain Secretary of State for Wales, etc.. It makes it a interesting time for NIO minister Paul Goggins to announce a “radical overhaul” of adoption services in Northern Ireland.. where, of course, the particular provisions of the Equality Act have already been brought into force..Adoption review documentation available via the Department website

And from the NIO statement on adoption services

Consultation on ‘Adopting the Future’ is now complete. This document will pave the way for the most significant overhaul of primary adoption legislation in Northern Ireland for twenty years.

Key elements include:

Replacing patchy and inconsistent support services by placing a clear duty on Trusts, for the first time, to ensure the provision of adoption support services, including financial support;

A new legal order of ‘special guardianship’ which will enable children to have a permanent family life with a carer but maintain a basic link with their birth family;

Ensuring that children have at least one person with parental responsibility for them at all times in the adoption process;

Allowing civil partners and unmarried couples, including same sex couples, to jointly adopt;

Creating a Centre of Excellence in adoption by investing responsibility for many aspects of adoption in one Trust;

Much more consistent arrangements for access to information.

The consultation on the Adopting the Future document is available here [pdf file]

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  • gerry

    I feel torn by this legislation. I want to see gay people get their rights – all their rights, the same as all of us. But all of us too want more or different rights and with rights come responsibilities. Like Blair I’d like to see some sort of compromise on this because the only people to suffer are the innocent which are the children.

    The Church adoption societies, both catholic and protestant, have said they may have to close and that would be a pity, since they do a brilliant service hand in hand with state services of adoption.

    there is also the problem of what children see in the home being replicated in their lives. For example if they see violence that can create a culture of violence which can be carried on thru generations. if they see nothing but homosexuality, two guys in bed kissing, behaving as husband and wife then they will think that is normal and go into school and replicate what they see. its a potential nightmare.

    what you do in private in your own home is ok, but not children or indeed when other peoples children are involved, since they cannot have their own. i don’t think society is ready for this, nor will it ever be.

    adoption should be in the interests of the child not the couple, the childs right should over ride that of the couple, and all children deserve a loving home that will not show them dodgy goings on as natural.

    i shall await the backlash, but its the kids needs that must come first. thankfully it doesn’t affect me.

  • Pete Baker

    gerry

    “if they see nothing but homosexuality, two guys in bed kissing, behaving as husband and wife then they will think that is normal and go into school and replicate what they see. its a potential nightmare.”

    Clearly nonsense. Think about the hetereosexual partnerships/marriages from which the over-whelming majority of gay people come from. Nature not nurture.

    If that doesn’t convince you, then consider that such an exemption could also be called to allow a protestant adoption agency from dealing with a catholic couple wishing to adopt. Or vice versa.

    A right of conscience… indeed…

  • gerry

    Pete humans have surived so far by learnt behaviour. Kids learn in the home, parents are primary carers. Children will have things passed on, this is how religion survived and much more. I agree there are people who come from straight homes that are gay, but you cannot turn it ass about face with no evidence.

    kids are socialised, what would a dodgy set up do to that process? have two lads going to school who think its normal to kiss each other and not girls, and that its normal for two blokes with hairy chests behave as man and wife? its crazy and its hard enough now to adopt for those that want children, one cannot over look the fact that the children MUST come first, not after the rights of the homosexual couple.

    look at the big picture pete

  • Way Icit

    Pete Baker “…Northern Ireland …where, of course, the particular provisions of the Equality Act have already been brought into force..”

    Many in Northern Ireland seem to be under the impression that the present debate in GB has nothing to do with us, after all the legislation is in place here already. Not so, to quote Lord Trimble in another context “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”

    Lords Debate Hansard 9 Jan 2007 : Column 208

    Lord Trimble: My Lords, the Minister has made the point that the Great Britain regulations were brought in in parallel. They have now been held back for further consultation. The possibility exists that that consultation might result in changes to the GB regulations. If that happens, can the Minister assure us that the Northern Ireland regulations will then be amended to be brought into line with the GB regulations and thus keep the parity that was there at the outset?

    Lord Rooker: My Lords, the Secretary of State has made that abundantly clear on more than one occasion. It is the intention, whatever the case may, to have broad parity between the regulations within the United Kingdom so there should not be any major difficulty with that.

  • Pete Baker

    “this is how religion survived and much more.”

    That’s precisely the point of your argument that I highlighted to illustrate the ridiculousness of it.

    The exemption demanded would mean that children would not come first.. instead, in the 4% of cases we’re discussing, the priority would be the religious views of those within the agencies.

  • gerry

    ps the nature nurture debate is a nonsense. how do you seperate nature from nurture. is it natural to mate with the same sex? NO. everything human and animal would die out. how we are nurtured is set by society, if homosexuality becomes part of nurture for babies and they grow up to become gay is that nature or nurture? if the child is straight is that nature?

    that debate was dreamt up when they ran out of ways to explain stuff.

    kids need a good start inlife, and this is dodgy.

    Dare I say it look what has happened to society since the boom of the one parent family.

  • Pete Baker

    “kids need a good start inlife, and this is dodgy.”

    In your humble opinion.

    “Dare I say it look what has happened to society since the boom of the one parent family.”

    And yet these same agencies will continue to place children with single gay people..

  • Mac an Aistrigh

    Can anyone clarify the current role of Catholic adoption agencies? Is it to place Catholic children in Catholic homes to ensure they are raised as Catholics: or is it to try to find loving and supportive homes for children in general?

  • Will Crawley’s blog thinks Geoff Hoon has let slip Tony Blair’s suggested compromise that will allow the Catholic adoption agencies to stay open with clear consciences WHILE giving NO exemptions to the equality legislation. See here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2007/01/adopting_a_compromise.html

    Ingenious solution to the problem by Hoon and the Blairites??

  • joeCanuck

    pete

    Any idea why my comment disappeared?

  • joeCanuck

    “I want to see gay people get their rights – all their rights, the same as all of us.”
    “will not show them dodgy goings on as natural.”

    gerry, could you please reconcile these two statements of yours.

    Or are you simply a pretender and a troll?

    Thank you in advance

  • joeCanuck

    Oops Pete;

    there it is now.

  • Penelope

    Gerry,

    I find assertion that children will be “socialized” to be homosexual if their parents are to be very weak. After all it’s safe to say that the vast majority of lesbian and gay kids grew up in a straight household so where’s the logic in that? To say “it’s not the same thing” is dismissive.

    Children are not raised in isolation and are exposed to plenty of examples of heterosexual behaviour via movies, television, books, music, cartoons, etc. Gay parents that I know when asked by their child why they have two daddies or two mommies answer that most boys fall in love with girls and most girls do the same with boys, but sometimes a boy will fall in love with another boy or a girl with another girl. They reassure the child that they will fall in love with whomever they fall in love with and most likely it will be someone of the opposite sex. The fact is the sexual orientation of the parents has little impact on that of the child.

    But this is not my own personal view. Please take the time to read this paper from the American Psychological Association’s publication regarding Gay & Lesbian Parents. The publication’s purpose is “…provided for the use of clinicians, researchers, students, lawyers, and parents involved in legal and policy issues related to lesbian and gay parenting.” Citations to studies done regarding gay parents are also included.

    http://www.apa.org/pi/parent.html

    In summary the APA found…

    “Results of research to date suggest that children of lesbian and gay parents have positive relationships with peers and that their relationships with adults of both sexes are also satisfactory. The picture of lesbian mothers’ children that emerges is one of general engagement in social life with peers, with fathers, with grandparents, and with mothers’ adult friends-both male and female, both heterosexual and homosexual. Fears about children of lesbians and gay men being sexually abused by adults, ostracized by peers, or isolated in single-sex lesbian or gay communities have received no support from the results of existing research.”

    and from COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere)they assert…

    “People with LGBT parents have the same incidence of homosexuality as the general population, about 10%. No research has ever shown that LGBT parents have any affect on the sexuality of their children. (Patterson, Charlotte J. 1992)”

    “Most “problems” that kids of LGBT parents face actually stem from the challenges of dealing with divorce and the homophobia and transphobia in society rather then the sexual orientation or gender identity of their parents.”

    http://www.colage.org/research/facts.html#facts

    I think your attitude exemplifies COLAGE’s point very well !!!

    And in regards to your belief that …”the nature nurture debate is a nonsense. how do you seperate nature from nurture. is it natural to mate with the same sex? NO. everything human and animal would die out.” It has been well-documented that homosexuality DOES occur in the animal kingdom… just ask any sheep farmer!!!

    http://www.bidstrup.com/sodomy.htm

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_gayanimal.html

    As Love & Rockets asserted in the song No New Tale to Tell… “You cannot go against nature / because when you do / go against nature / that’s a part of nature too” !!

    Happy reading!!

  • Penelope

    correction.. I meant to say… “But this is not just my own personal view.”

  • Rory

    This talk of a gay couple’s right to be considered as potential adoptive parents is a complete volte face from the whole thrust of contemporary legislation and policy in child care where, apart from the state, only the child is deemed to have rights. Others in the equation are measured for their fitness to fulfil a duty of care towards the child.

    I cannot see Hoon’s proposed compromise being acceptable to the Church. Since the adoption agency provides the care and amenities for the child in the first place they could not in all good conscience place the future of the child in the hands of another who would be prepared to act against the beliefs of the agency. Indeed it would be wrong in principle for them to employ such people in the first place.

    The Lord Chancellor is being a little disngenuous when he declares that there is no case for exemption to the proposed new rules on the grounds of religious conscience and perhaps he should be reminded that this government overruled animal welfare campaigners in providing Halal and Kosher abbatoirs with an exemption from the requirement placed on every other abbatoir, that animals be stunned before slaughter.

  • woody

    “the nature nurture debate is a nonsense. how do you seperate nature from nurture. is it natural to mate with the same sex? NO. everything human and animal would die out.”

    Male lions often kill cubs that are not their own, is this natural? Surely not or else all lions would die out. I say we find these abominations and stop them before they cause the downfall of lion society.

    On a less frivolous note, do Catholic adoption agencies cater for atheists who want to adopt? Surely in the church’s eyes they would be bringing the child up in a godless environment damning them for eternity? Do they refuse atheists?

  • Historically, Christians, both Catholic and Anglican alike, as well as other long established syndicates have been regarded as the CREAM of Society because they were always,

    “WHITE, THICK, and RISE to the Top.”

  • Rory

    How droll, Art Hostage. A career as a stand=up surely beckons – on the Kazekhstan night club circuit perhaps?

  • Yokel

    Maybe Art there is resentful as he’s only two of those…gwannnn Art

    Henry M’s post seems extremely plausible. This issue has really caused Tony Blair some serious difficulties because the cabinet is very split.

  • kensei

    “Male lions often kill cubs that are not their own, is this natural? Surely not or else all lions would die out. I say we find these abominations and stop them before they cause the downfall of lion society.”

    Without impinging on the argument, that is a terrible example. Male Lions kill cubs that aren’t their own because they want female lions to have their babies.

  • woody

    “Without impinging on the argument, that is a terrible example. Male Lions kill cubs that aren’t their own because they want female lions to have their babies.”

    Perhaps it would have been kinder to give them up for adoption.

  • gerry

    Penople, I haven’t read your links yet, because I don’t really get a lot of time to read what I like, but eventually I will get around to it and then reply to your post.

    For all of you, I am not homophophic, please excuse spelling. I am off the opinion that the child is the most important factor here. Not the rights of the gay couple or the adoption agencies, but the right of the child. You all know how cruel kids can be to each other, I can’t see a kid at school in belfast with two daddies and not get stick about it. Kids will pick on what is different. And I still believe children are socialised more balanced in a loving home with two parents a mother (female) and a dad (male).

    That is my humble opinion.