Monday, January 29, 2007

No exemption from gay rights law

No exemption from gay rights law

Mr Blair's Cabinet was said to be split over the row Downing Street has said there will be no exemption from anti-discrimination laws for Catholic adoption agencies.
But Tony Blair's official spokesman said the agencies would be given 21 months to prepare for the new laws.
Catholic adoption agencies had warned they would close rather than place children with gay couples, saying that went against their beliefs.
The proposed measures are likely to face a vote in parliament next month before coming into effect on 6 April.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said he believed ministers had found a "way through" to prevent discrimination and protect the interests of children, which all "reasonable people" should be able to accept.
No exemptions
"There is no place in our society for discrimination. That's why I support the right of gay couples to apply to adopt like any other couple.
"And that way there can be no exemptions for faith-based adoption agencies offering public funded services from regulations that prevent discrimination."
But former shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe said it was not a compromise and meant Catholic agencies would have to close down.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of Catholics in England and Wales, had said the closure of his seven agencies would be a "wholly avoidable tragedy".

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