21 March 2007

Adoption Clash

While the the Roman Catholic Church continues to maintain that the hotly-contested Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations would lead to the closure of its adoption agencies, Baroness O’Cathain will seek to defeat the anti-discrimination proposals in tonight's final vote on the basis of concerns that the regulations compromise religious liberty and "will result in litigation over the content of classroom teaching."

Today's Times has the following letter from Conservative MP Alistair Burt:

Sir, That House of Commons procedures have not allowed for a full debate on the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR) is not in the country’s best interest, whichever side of the argument one supports.

The regulations pit against each other two important ideals, each of which would normally command members’ support; equality before the law and freedom of religious conscience. It is precisely the resolution of such a dilemma for MPs which deserves to be public. At a time when the Commons wonders why it is losing authority, this is an example which provides a clue.

UPDATE (Thursday): Peers have voted against Baroness O'Cathain's amendment by 168 votes to 122.


Anonymous said...

The Archbishop of Westminster is more forthright, accusing Tony Blair of an "abuse of parliamentary democracy" for the way he forced the Act through the Commons on Monday with no debate and just a single vote.

Layreader said...

As Cranmer says: "Not since 1559 has there been an Act of Uniformity requiring everyone to assent to a particular worldview, and it took more than 300 years to eradicate that. But 2007 sees a new Act of Uniformity which elevates sexual orientation to a quasi-religious status which trumps any religious worldview which opposes it. It is secular pluralism by statute law."

Layreader said...

"For my own part, I have no difficulty in being a proud British Catholic citizen. But now it seems to me we are being asked to accept a different version of our democracy, one in which diversity and equality are held to be at odds with religion." Quoting Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's response to the debate, Archbishop Cranmer describes this as "perhaps the most important ‘but’ since the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829." The Cardinal goes on, "When Christians stand by their beliefs, they are intolerant dogmatists. When they sin, they are hypocrites. When they take the side of the poor, they are soft-headed liberals. When they seek to defend the family, they are right wing reactionaries."