Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why this is bigotry.

There has been much controversy over the catholic churches attempt to gain an exemption to the Equality Act, which requires that organisations may not discriminate against people based upon their sexual orientation. The church's position, at first glance, appears to be quite simple:

We would, however, have a serious difficulty with the proposed regulations on discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services if they required our adoption agencies to consider homosexual couples as potential adoptive parents.
The church then continues to state what it believes should be the right and proper environment for a child:

We place significant emphasis on marriage, as it is from the personal union of a man and a woman that new life is born and it is within the loving context of such a relationship that a child can be welcomed and nurtured. Marital love involves an essential complementarity of male and female.

And then:

We recognise that some children, particularly those who have suffered abuse and neglect, may well benefit from placement with a single adoptive parent.

What is not made clear by these two statements (or elsewhere in the cardinal's letter), is whether single parents are selected by the church based upon their sexuality. This is a serious ommission.

If the church's position is that it is acceptable that a child be placed with a homosexual single parent, but not with a couple, then the church's position on homosexuality is clearly inconsistent. (It would be extremely naive of the church to presume that a homosexual single parent would not one day met some one, and become a homosexual couple.

The TUC, however, appears to be able to answer this question:

When Martin rang a Roman Catholic adoption agency, and claimed that he was a single man, and an atheist, but heterosexual, and asked the Agency if these characteristics would be an obstacle to proceeding with an adoption, he was told that this would be no problem. When his partner Chris rang the same Agency a little later, and presented himself as a committed Roman Catholic, but gay, he was immediately told he was unsuitable.

So we can be reasonably certain that the churches position is that homosexual people in general should be immedeatly disqualified from rearing children.

Well. Not quite.

The church's position actually appears to be that the church will not themselves place children into the care of homosexuals (either single or gay), but that being homosexaul does not appear to be an impediment: the cardinal, in his somewhat revealing letter, states:

Homosexual couples are referred to other agencies where their adoption application may be considered. This "sign-posting" responsibility is taken very seriously by all Catholic adoption agencies.

Here, the church is attempting to say "Hey, we really want to play by the spirit of the rules, but our religion tells us we can't handle it". Which, surely, is another way of saying "There is nothing wrong with homosexual couples - whether they are single or not - adopting children".

So why the problem? Either it is against their religion to hold that homosexuals make perfectly good parents, or it isn't. Either they blanket ban homosexuals that approach them, or they don't. The fact that they refer them to other agencies suggests, to me at least, that they know that the fact that a couple (or single parent) is homosexual in no way detracts from their ability to raise children.

Therefore, the religious position is quite simply stated as "I'm not touching those darned gays". It is simply, and brutally, bigotted, and has absolutely no moral or rational basis whatsoever. That there are numerous religious organisations that have absolutely no problem with homosexuality (some are even advancing as far as realising that gay people may enjoy sex), and that there are - indeed - many catholics who are gay, or support gays, and have no issue with gay adoption shows that the position is not even religious. It is dogmatic, institutionalised homophobia.

What is most disturbing, of course, is that by playing the religious card that catholic church may nearly have got its way. We may never know.

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