Friday, February 02, 2007

UK Adoption Controversy

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, defended the move to force faith-based adoption agencies to accept applications from same-sex parents, saying, 'The law as it stands makes it absolutely clear that decisions can be taken in the best interest of the chidlren ... I think it's right there is no discrimination udner the law anywhere.'
But surely the real issue is not whether religious adoption agencies should be given special allowance to discriminate in order to follow conscience, for adoption agencies are already required to discriminate in favour of candidates they believe to be in the best interests of the child.

The real issue is whether it is valid for religious adoption agencies to include in their criteria the conviction that it is in the best interest of a child to be raised by both a father and mother. If an agency believes that, they are not being bigoted towards same-sex couples any more than it is bigoted to use any of the other selection criteria these agencies routinely employ. (No one would say, for example, that it is bigoted against elderly people for an agency to question their ability to successfully parent.)

Indeed, if we were really to take the equality rhetoric to its logical conclusion, then adoption agencies should dispense with the selection process altogether, since any form of selection necessarily discriminates by including some people and excluding others.
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