Adoption card could promote homophobia
THEY are renowned as a force for good, vital in the battle to save countless lives.But today organ donor cards are embroiled in anti-gay prejudice controversy after their format was copied in a bid to prevent homosexuals adopting children.
THEY are renowned as a force for good, vital in the battle to save countless lives.
But today organ donor cards are embroiled in anti-gay prejudice controversy after their format was copied in a bid to prevent homosexuals adopting children.
The launch of the Christian Institute card, which parents can sign to refuse homosexuals the right to adopt their children if orphaned, has left the gay and lesbian community in Suffolk shocked and angry.
The fury came on the day the government signalled that it will try to get overturned a House of Lords vote which would maintain the ban on unmarried and gay couples adopting children.
The Lords voted last night to keep the prohibition by a majority of 34 during the Adoption and Children Bill's report stage.
The defeat was a setback for ministers who want to get the Bill onto the statute book before the opening of Parliament's next session on November 13.
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Church leaders have said adoption by homosexuals would not be in the best interests of children. However a spokesman in Suffolk said it would be wrong for an otherwise qualified adult to be banned from adopting children, simply because he or she happens to be gay.
Simon Calvert, solicitor and Christian Institute deputy director, said the card allows parents' views to be heard, and said: "All research shows that gay adoption would be harmful to children."
But devoted Ipswich grandparent and parent Cath O'Neil's reacted in disbelief and claimed the card promotes homophobia.
She said: "The fact that this looks like a donor card is highly worrying that something that does so much good is being misappropriated. To exclude an entire section of society based on their sexuality is surely an ill-considered decision.
"As a mother, grandparent and lesbian myself I find this offensive, homophobic and insidious.
"That would mean less children would be found caring homes. My prime concern would be my child was cared for after my death and sexuality would be irrelevant."
The Christian Institute said it has received legal advice and under the Government proposals adoption agencies who turn down homosexual couples could face litigation in the courts. The prospect of litigation would put pressure on adoption agencies to place children with gay couples.
Nick Clarke, communications director for St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, said the Church of England's concern is the best interests of the child.
He said orphaned children may be looked after by the godparents, uncle and aunt but if not it would be quite wrong for an otherwise qualified adult to be banned from adopting children, simply because he or she happens to be gay.
But some of the country's leaders from a cross section of religions have said adoption by homosexuals would not be in the best interests of children.
John Evans, spokesman for the British Organ Donor Society based in Cambridge, dismissed the adoption card as being "of little consequence".