Two Roman Catholic dioceses have decided to end their involvement in adoption because new gay rights laws are forcing them to act against Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
The Nottingham Diocese has cut all ties with the Catholic Children’s Society (CCS), which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, because the Sexual Orientation Regulations could force it to place children with homosexual couples.
Before now the Nottingham agency found homes for 25 children a year.
The CCS will now merge with a local Anglican adoption agency to become “a broad-based Christian family support organisation” which is expected to operate on an essentially secular basis with regard to the Regulations.
Roman Catholic Bishop Malcolm McMahon said: “We have been coerced into this, I am not happy about it at all.
“The Regulations have coerced the children’s society into going against the church’s teaching, and we don’t wish to do that.”
A second diocese in Northampton has also split with its adoption agency, St Francis’s Children’s Society, as a direct result of the Regulations.
Both agencies will be independent of the Roman Catholic Church by the end of the year.
When the Sexual Orientation Regulations were being passed last year, then Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the Government would look into ways in which Roman Catholic adoption agencies could continue to operate under the new laws.
However, shortly after the Regulations came into force, an agency in Leeds which found places for 20 children a year announced that it would have to withdraw adoption services.
Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue, Bishop of Lancaster, has also warned Catholic Caring Services, an agency in his diocese, that they may also have to withdraw services in December 2008 unless a way to circumvent the Regulations is found.