Discrimination v. adoption agencies

Back in 2007, Mollie mentioned that the British government had passed a law requiring all adoption agencies to provide services to gay couples. Now we're seeing ramifications from that law in recent stories about a Catholic adoption agency's loss in court.

The Telegraph's Martin Beckford took a fairly blunt approach to the court case with the headline "Last Catholic adoption agency faces closure after Charity Commission ruling." So a Catholic group didn't just lose its day in court; It probably has to shut down as a result of the decision.

The ruling means that Catholic Care is likely to have to close its adoption service, as if it decided instead to consider same-sex couples as parents it would be going against Catholic teaching on the importance of children having a mother and father. This would mean the agency, which can trace its origins back to an orphanage set up in Leeds in 1863, would lose church funding.

Since Labour's homosexual rights law came into effect in January 2009, all the other 11 Catholic adoption agencies in England have either had to close down or sever their ties with the church hierarchy. Catholic Care was the last to hold out as it launched its legal bid.

The charity, which only found out the judgement was coming on Wednesday, has not yet decided whether to close its adoption service.

Similarly, the BBC shows how the case took a winding road toward its final conclusion.

In contrast, Riazat Butt of the Guardian takes a pretty political tone in its final angle.

Harriet Harman, who was equality minister at the time, defended the laws. The two will come face-to-face for the first time next month, when the pope visits Britain and is due to meet Harman in her role as acting leader of the Labour party.

Their meeting will follow "courtesy calls" from David Cameron, who will enjoy 20 minutes with the pontiff, and his deputy Nick Clegg, who gets half that time, before mass at Westminster Cathedral.Other details from the full papal itinerary, released today, show there will be two joint public appearances by the archbishop of Canterbury and the pope. Relations between the two churches have been strained since the Vatican announced a new structure for disaffected Anglicans that would make it easier for them to convert to Catholicism.

Reading the story is sort of like watching a child with ADD. This is how it reads: This Catholic group lost in court, Pope Benedict was ticked earlier this year; oh yeah, did you hear he's coming to England? He's meeting with very important political leaders. Oh, and there's some drama between the pope and the Church of England.

The story meanders away from the issue at hand as though the court decision is really an excuse to write about the pope's upcoming visit. Back when the law first passed, the Church of England united with the Catholic church on this issue. What now?

We've looked at how that has played out in the U.S. It's never too late to do follow-up stories exploring the ever-present tensions with religious freedom, same-sex parenting, and diversity.

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