View Full Version : Catholic Church To Stop Providing Adoption Services Because Gays Allowed To Adopt

03-10-2006, 06:10 PM
Catholic Charities to halt adoptions over issue involving gays

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/03/10/catholic_charities_to_halt_adoptions_over_issue_in volving_gays/

By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press Writer | March 10, 2006

BOSTON --The Boston Archdiocese's Catholic Charities said Friday it would stop providing adoption services because state law allows gays and lesbians to adopt children.

The social services arm of the Roman Catholic archdiocese has provided adoption services for the state for about two decades, and said it would discontinue once it completes its contract with the state. It said that the state law allowing gays to adopt runs counter to church teachings on homosexuality.

"The world was very different when Charities began this ministry at the threshold of the 20th century," the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities, and trustees chairman Jeffrey Kaneb said in a joint statement. "The world changed often and we adapted the ministry to meet changing times and needs. At all times we sought to place the welfare of children at the heart of our work.

"But now, we have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve," they said.

The state's four Catholic bishops said earlier this month that the law threatens the church's religious freedom by forcing it to do something it considers immoral.

Eight members of Catholic Charities board later stepped down in protest of the bishops' stance. The 42-member board had voted unanimously in December to continue considering gay households for adoptions.

Catholic Charities has been involved in adoptions for about a century, but has had a contract with the state for the past two decades. Its contract with the state expires June 30.

In the past two decades, Catholic Charities has placed 720 children in adoptive homes. Of those 720 children, 13 were placed with same-sex couples, Catholic Charities said. Since 1977, the state Department of Social Services has contracted with Catholic Charities to provide special needs adoption services to children with severe emotional and physical needs.

"We recognize the complexity of the issue, and we are aware of the debates which have swirled around it, Hehir and Kaneb said in the statement. "As an agency, however, we simply must recognize that we cannot continue in this ministry."

Within an hour after Catholic Charities' announcement, Gov. Mitt Romney said he planned to file a bill that would allow religious organizations to seek an exemption from the state's anti-discrimination laws to provide adoption services.

"This is a sad day for neglected and abandoned children," Romney, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, said in a statement issued while he was in Tennessee to address the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. "It's a mistake for our laws to put the rights of adults over the needs of children.

"While I respect the board's decision to stay true to their principles, I find the current state of the law deeply disturbing and a threat to religious freedom," he said.

Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said she was disappointed with the decision by Catholic Charities to end its adoption services.

"All of the homes were good and loving home and now through the pressure of the bishops Catholic Charities is being forced to get out of the business," she said. "There are no winners here. The children are the ones who suffer."

C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, supports the church's opposition to placing adoptive children with gay couples, but said the church should have pressed the issue instead of backing down.

"It's a very disappointing development and a defeat for religious freedom," he said. "They should have fought this in court."

House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi has said he supports the anti-discrimination law, including the part allowing gay parents to adopt.

In a 2003 document, the Vatican said gay adoption was "gravely immoral," and that children placed in such home "would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood."

Some 682 foster children are waiting for adoption in Massachusetts, according to the DSS. The bulk of adoptive children are placed by DSS, rather than outside agencies such as Catholic Charities, the agency said.