Catholic Church Forced to Withdraw from Adoption

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: April 1, 2007

New gay rights law forces the Catholic Church to pull out of offering adoption services in the UK.

Sexual Orientation Regulations, which entered into effect on the 30th April 2007, make it illegal for adoption agencies to turn down same-sex couples as possible adoptive and foster parents. In accordance with the law there is no opt-out for Catholic adoption agencies when it comes to anti-discrimination laws. 21 months were given for implementing the legislation. As a consequence, the agencies were torn between loyalty to Catholic teaching and the law. Barrister Neil Addison said that new regulations disregard “human rights protections for religious belief, equality legislation prohibiting religious discrimination and, finally, the Adoption Act itself, which makes the welfare of the child the primary consideration”. Ann Widdecombe, former Tory Minister, said the new law made it "inevitable" that the agencies would find themselves in crisis. She said: "No one is benefiting from this law. Homosexual couples could already adopt, they just couldn't adopt through Catholic agencies. Very difficult placements, the Catholic Church was so good at, are at risk of being lost and it will be those children who depend most upon this service who are going to suffer." Update April 2009: As a result of changing legal regulations five Roman Catholic agencies have decided to cut their religious affiliation. One agency is to close down altogether. Three others have taken the adoption fight to the courts. Update November 2012: On Nov. 6, 2012, Leeds, the last Catholic Care Adoption Agency, lost before court. Read more here: Read more at: After 120 Years of Service UK Catholic Adoption Agency Forced to Close Doors Over Forced Gay Adoptions Britain's Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor Will Defy Law Forcing Homosexual Adoption More British Catholic Adoption Agencies to Close Doors instead of Bowing to Sexual Orientation Regulations More information in German: <>