Today, Tony Blair is having trouble making his mind up. According to his press briefing this morning, Tone is struggling to make a decision about whether to exempt faith-based adoption agencies from anti-discrimination legislation. You see, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has written a stern letter to the Prime Minister and Cabinet demanding the "right" of Catholic adoption agencies - and those of other faiths - to refuse to consider same-sex couples as potential adoptive parents.
Blair whines that "this was an issue with sensitivities on all sides" and is "not clear-cut or straightforward". Au contraire, Mr P.M., it's very straightforward. You either allow homophobic bigotry or you don't.
Murphy O'Connor reassures us that "The Catholic Church utterly condemns all forms of unjust discrimination" against "homosexuals". Presumably, then, it fully supports 'just' discrimination. And discriminating against lesbian and gay potential parents is 'just' because ... Catholic teaching says so. So, according to the Cardinal, the issue is not discrimination against lesbian and gay people, but against Catholics! They are being discriminated against because the government proposes to stop them discriminating against gay people. They must, the Cardinal says, have the right to freedom of conscience, even if that mean the 'freedom' to exercise their conscience by discriminating against others. Spotted the flaw in this argument yet?!
I'd make the point here that in my view, the Catholic Church's stance on this is not just anti-gay, it's also anti-child - as it denies children the opportunity to be placed with the most suitable parents just because those parents are lesbian or gay.
And hey, guess who is leading the charge from within the government's own ranks to sabotage adoption by same-sex couples? Yes, it's Ruth Kelly. Hot on the heels of her disgraceful rejection of state education for her special-needs son, Communities Minister Kelly shows that there are some communities she has no respect for whatsoever. Given the publicity her wacko sect Opus Dei has received over the last couple of years (with another flagellating appearance in Waking The Dead on BBC1 yesterday and Sunday), it's amazing this woman is anywhere near a seat of power, and a total disgrace that she holds such power in the name of the Labour Party.
One final point, as politicians panic about faith-based adoption agencies closing down because of the new law. Why is society relying on faith-based - or any non-governmental - adoption agencies to start with?! Adoption is a public service, and should be arranged by public agencies fully resourced to meet the demand for their essential services. Then there would be no question of them obeying the law of the land, and no power for bodies such as Church adoption agencies to bully politicians into allowing them to parade their ridiculous, superstitious bigotry.