The Roman Catholic Church has lost the fight to opt out of new laws in England and Wales banning discrimination against gay couples, throwing its adoption agencies into a bind.
Despite protests from Catholics, who were supported by the Anglican Church of England in their campaign against the laws, British prime minister Tony Blair announced January 29 that there would be “no exemptions” for faith groups when the Equality Act comes into force April 6.
The act will outlaw discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexual orientation. “I start from a very firm foundation: there is no place in our society for discrimination,” Blair said.
In a bid to soften the impact, Blair—whose wife, Cherie, is a prominent Catholic—said the adoption agencies would be given 21 months to get ready to abide by the new rules.