“There can be no exemptions..

..for faith based adoption agencies from the new sexual orientation regulations.” As the BBC report, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly, have announced that there will be no exemptions for faith-based adotion agencies, exemptions which the Churches had been demanding. But there is an element of compromise, as had been suggested.. those faith-based adoption agencies will be given until the end of 2008 to acclimatise themselves to the new reality, described as an “unnecessarily long” time by the Lib Dems, and in the meantime there will be a statutory duty to refer same-sex couples to an agency which will work with them.From the Downing St. statement

I start from a very firm foundation: there is no place in our society for discrimination. That is why I support the right of gay couples to apply to adopt like any other couple. And that is why there can be no exemptions for faith-based adoption agencies offering publicly-funded services from regulations which prevent discrimination.

This will be made clear in the regulations that the Government will lay before Parliament shortly. In the interests of children, they will include a transition period before these regulations come fully into force at the end of 2008 for existing adoption agencies. This will be coupled, during this period, with a statutory duty for any adoption agency which does not process applications from same sex couples to refer them to another agency. I have also asked for a regular independent assessment from adoption and child welfare experts on the impact of the sexual orientation regulations on adoption in order to maintain the existing body of expertise.