Catholic leaders in England, Wales and Scotland are being encouraged not to resist the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) with which their adoption agencies will be required to comply from April 2007. Instead they are being urged to follow an ‚Äúinspirational‚Äù example from the United States.
When faced with a Vatican prohibition on granting adoptions to same-sex couples, Catholic Charities of San Francisco last year launched a new project which no longer directly places children in homes, but instead provides staff and financial resources to connect needy children to adoptive parents. This has led to a significant increase in placements.
The creative move, initiated in Summer 2006, averted a conflict between California state anti-discrimination laws and the Church doctrine. It is a partnership involving Catholic Charities, the social-service arm of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and California Kids Connection, a state-wide adoption exchange run by an Oakland-based not-for-profit organisation called Family Builders by Adoption.
The two agencies have been working in conjunction with the state Department of Social Services, which oversees some 82,000 foster children, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
‚ÄúWhen the Roman Catholic Church was faced with a non-discrimination policy in San Francisco they became inspirational,‚Äù the Rev Martin Reynolds told Ekklesia today. ‚ÄúAs a result instead of handful of children being helped - hundreds are now getting a better and fairer chance for a loving home.‚Äù
Mr Reynolds is director of communications for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) in the UK, and also fosters a child with his partner of 27 years.
He added: ‚ÄúThe Cardinal [Cormac Murphy O‚ÄôConnor] has the same chance to be creative here. He can go on politicising these children's future, or he can grasp the opportunity and work out a compromise that not only keeps the great teams the Catholic adoption agencies have put together but makes the final outcome something better than before.‚Äù
‚ÄúIf they can do it in San Francisco there is no reason why we can't have the same outstanding success here in the UK!‚Äù concluded Mr Reynolds.