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Last night the PM announced there would be “no exemptions” from gay rights legislation for faith-based adoption agencies.
The 2006 Equality Act will face a vote in Parliament in February before coming into effect on 6 April 2007. The Commons will not be given a free vote on this issue.
The Prime Minister stated, “The government would work with the agencies to determine how they could adapt their methods to meet the new rules.” An independent team will be reporting to the prime minister on the practicalities of ensuring that the needs of vulnerable children and their adoptive parents will continue to be met both during the transition period and thereafter.
The independent assessment panel will be appointed by the Prime Minister. The PM said, “The transition arrangements will give adoption agencies time to consider and address “how they work alongside an independent assessment of the process to ensure that the high-quality expertise that exists is not lost.”
St. David’s policy in relation to same sex adopters has for these past ten years, been to refer such applicants to other agencies that will positively consider their request. For the forseeable future this policy will continue as it is. The new regualtions place a “statutory duty” upon our adoption agency to continue what is in effect existing practice. This duty will apply until the end of 2008.
Ruth Kelly clearly stated, “local authorities would be instructed to continue to do business with us as normal during this transitional period.”
All involved in this debate, even our most strident critics, have made many positive comments about the high quality services provided by Catholic adoption agencies, the professional expertise of all staff within these agencies, and our significant success in working with the society’s most vulnerable children.
St. David’s is absolutely committed to maintaining its high quality adoption services for children and adopters. We remain confident about our future.
If you are considering adoption and would wish to receive a service that is viewed as highly specialised and of exceptional quality, please consider making an application to St. David’s Children Society.
Gerry Cooney
Director

Author: Gerry Cooney 27.01.2007

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