In today’s edition of The Age, the UK Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, was reported to have defended the Blair Government’s insistance that Catholic adoption agencies comply with the new laws forbidding discrimination against gay couples by saying:
This is the right outcome because it puts the interests of the child first. We reject discrimination in all its forms, particularly when that deprives our most vulnerable children of a stable, loving and secure home.
What??? Say again??? Did I hear/read that right? Isn’t that the Church’s argument? How much sense does it make for those supporting adoption by gay couples to use it?
Let’s look at this. The British Government’s arguement has been that:
1) Gay people have the right to be live lives free of discrimination
2) Not letting same sex couples adopt children is discrimination
3) therefore in the interests of gay people, we must let them adopt children.
On the other hand, the Catholic Church’s adoption agencies have been saying that
1) “our most vulnerable children” have the right to “a stable, loving, secure home”
2) which is best provided for by a married man and woman who are permenantly committed to each other;
3) so while condemning discrimination against homosexual people, we must say:
4) this is not about what might be in the interests of homosexuals,
5) it’s about putting “the interests of the child first”.
(As the Yanks would say: “This is SO not about you.”
So what on earth can the UK Education minister mean when he says the decision of his government “puts the interests of the child first”?
For an excellent and completely rational approach to the whole issue from the Scottish end of the stick (the Scottish Church seems to be taking a rather more defiant stand than the somewhat resigned and defeatist attitude of Westminster), see this in the Scotsman by Dani Gravelli: “Suffer the Children”.