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There are no words to describe this action, it is an EU enforced, unpopular, illogical law and is exactly the type of PC law that voters do not want to see. Welcome to the NuTory party!

This is a day of deep shame for the Conservative Party and confirms my growing opinion that Cameron - for whom I voted - is the wrong man to lead our party.

I think that there will be a strong reaction against this appalling statement.

I left the Conservative Party last week and joined UKIP because of the left-ward moves and socialist PC policy of Dave. I have to say that this latest example of Cameron-think has confirmed to me that under his Leadership the Conservative Party - for which I have worked for over 30 years - has been totally Nu-Laboured, and I made the right decision. I cannot support a party which speaks positively about religious beliefs and then refuses to allow the religious people freedom of belief & conscience. There are opt-outs for crash helmets and hallal slaughter of animals, because of religious beliefs - why not where adoption and christianity are involved? I believe that opt out should be possible for any bona-fide religion if beliefs are compromised and the public are not endangered by the opt-out.

Over the months I've wondered if deep down David Cameron was a Conservative - I'd never quite made up my mind.

Now the doubts are swept away - he clearly isn't. I, too voted for him. What have I done? Shameful.

By far the more worrying notion is surely "...his appeal to the churches to accept government money in return for delivering more social action..."

Religion is not about "delivery" and should not be about "government money".

The next step in the process is control by the paymaster - fine for Established Anglicans, but not for THIS Catholic, thank you very much.

Steve, clearly you haven't read Christopher Booker's column in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph. He states explicity that the EU Directive would have permitted the UK Government not to extend its provisions to Catholic adoption agencies.

The decision to do so was entirely down to the Labour government.

So much for Cameron's great belief in the fact that "there is such a thing as society, it's just not the same thing as the state". They seem to have been rather confused in his mind in this particular episode.

I am sure that Cameron would not whip this.

I agree with him that there can be no exemption to the law for religious groups, but I also know that it is quite impossible for Catholic agencies to place children with any kind of co-habiting couple.

David also misunderstands Cathoilc teaching if he thinks Catholic agencies can "twin" with agencies that will hand children to unmarried couples. They can't, no more than they can refer a woman wanting an abortion to some other doctor who will do it.

In my view, the way forward on this issue was to have imposed a uniform standard on all voluntary agencies, as follows:

"Are you placing children with good parents?"

That means that a gay agency could choose to place only with civil partners, a Catholic agency with Catholic parents, a Jewish agency with Jewish parents, and all agenies would need to show the government the same thing - that they place children with good and proper parents.

That offers no religious-based exemptions yet does not trample on conscience.

As it happens, Catholic agencies will have to shut down. They cannot "twin" or "partner" with agencies that will put children into the care of co-habiting couples, gay or straight, so the government must be prepared to deal with the 1/3 of hard to place children Catholic agencies find good homes for.

It was announced yesterday in Scotland that Catholic agencies there will not shut down, they will carry on, and let themselves be taken to court - they believe they are protected by European law stating nobody can be forced to act against their religious beliefs. If they lose that case, they will shut down.

Our leaders must understand this clearly, and I speak as a practising and orthodox Catholic. There is no possible way we can hand children over to bodies that will put them in the homes of unmarried people who live together. If the court case is lost, then the agencies must simply shut down and no help will be offered to any body that wants to place those children in homes the Church considers immoral, be they gay or straight.

Cameron does our party a great disservice with this decision. He has made the assumption that when it comes to adoption, our churches need regulation and the statute book to help them make the right decisions. This, despite the fact that there is overwhelming majority approval for the RC's success with problem children.

This is deeply unconservative. Why would he have made this decision? Is it because of his secular metropolitan views towards homosexuals? Is it because he approves of state regulation in areas that hitherto have required little, or none? Is it because this is a good opportunity to show that he has "changed" his party? Is it because he thinks that lawmakers can and should enforce their own code of morality upon others, even when the targets, as in this case, are the hard-working, decent, super-successful RC adoption agencies?

I'm not a UKIP supporter and remain in the Conservative Party, where I will try to help save the party's soul.

I completely agree with Tam and others on Cameron's position on this issue.

I also agree with Tory T's hope that Cameron will not whip this vote.

Do none of you care about the Rule of Law? The Act that will cause the change was passed last year by Parliament. If the Catholic Church is so concerned about placing children with stable, well-rounded gay couples (surely better than gay singles?) they should have made their protestations known when the bill was being debated.

The way they have used the future of vulnerable children to blackmail the government over this issue is disgusting, and reveals the Catholic Church to be morally bankrupt.

Hopefully this heralds the end of religious exceptionalism in Britain, particularly with regards to Muslims and Catholics.

Quite rightly pointed out that the EU directive has nothing to do with the gay supporting regulations about to be introduced by New Labourin the sense that these leave ample room for exemption.
The idiocy of Cameron and his gay friends who teem at CCO is that by definition the current adoption system is a discriminatory process so to say it cannot be discriminatory is a contradiction in terms .If there is no discrimination why not hand a child over to the first person who arrives at the Town Hall every morning?
The grounds of discrimination are many,age,character finance. Claerly the sexual arrangements of the adopter are one of them.
What is anger making is that forcing adopted children into the care of gays and lesbians is a grand social experiment at the expense of the vulnerable children and the effects will not be seen for a generation at least.

Cameron has shown he is more Nulabour than Blair.

I want a pluralist state, not one where the state has all the power and all the answers and forces compliance against personal conscience.

Not better than gay singles at all, CDM: infintely worse.

As I explained on the thread below the division for Catholics has never been "gay or straight" but "married or unmarried".

The Church will place with single people or married people.

It won't place with co-habiting couples who expose children to a lifetime of spiritual harm by teaching them that sex outside of marriage is OK - that applies every bit as much to straight co-habiting couples as to gay ones.

A single person not co-habiting is fine so the Church has nothing against placing with a single person, gay or straight.

That's the difference - that Christians typically believe sex is for marriage and can't place children with unmarried couples whatever their sexuality.

As far as I am concerned the law is the law is the law. If an exemption is given for this case then it is the start of the slippery slope. Religion should have no exemptions in law IMHO. This is the 21st Century for Christ's sake. Its about time some of those in the Tory party started acting like it.

Hopefully this heralds the end of religious exceptionalism in Britain, particularly with regards to Muslims and Catholics.

Actually, it heralds the Beginning...this country has launched itself on a very turbulent future

Let us hope the Church wins its court case under European law on religious freedom.

We will not shut adoption agencies unless absolutely forced to by the government and they will need to win in court first.

Steppenwolf I also am against religious exemptions, what do you think of the standard I suggested at 9:16?

I too am very sorry that Cameron has said this.He will, if he is sensible make it very clear that this is his personal opinion and not official Conservative party policy.

Couldn't agree with Cameron, or indeed CDM, more. Catholic Church's blackmail on this issue has been truly disgraceful. If they want taxpayers' money, they will have to obey the law like everyone else.

"Is it because of his secular metropolitan views towards homosexuals?"

What, you mean he actually accepts them as fellow human beings rather than raging sodomites devoted to destroying the nuclear family?

Most conservatives have managed to accept that women, the Irish and blacks are human too. I suppose gayers will just have to wait a few more decades.

There's no blackmail Lucy.

Really, do you not understand?

The Catholic Church is a religious organisation. It exists to put forth a set of moral values, of course it can't expose children to everything that goes against those values, putting their souls in danger.

If the Church is offered two choices by the government, one: take our money and you can work with children, as long as you agree to harm their souls and bring them up believing all your values are false, or two: shut down, which one do you think they can take?

It's the government doing all the blackmail here. Of *course* Catholics can't hurt the souls of children by letting unmarried couples bring them up.

It's got nowt to do with gay and straight, as they place with gay singles, but married and unmarried.

And Cameron must not kid himselves that Catholic agencies can somehow "work with" other bodies that will do that harm to those little children that they refused to do themselves.

Why should we let an outdated organisation with outdated views, effectively black mail the government into giving them an exemption? I totally support Cameron’s stance, the law is the law they have to obey it like everyone else. What the Catholic Church believes in is discrimination and it’s about time that was made clear!

p.s I think it is going to be a free vote.

I understand your point Tory T but as I read it religious adoption agencies will still be able to discriminate on grounds of religion. (Haven't had my coffee yet so still asleep!)

If this exemption is allowed it gives religious organisations the green light to ask for further exemptions on other situations. Would a religious school be allowed to expel pupils they believe to be gay on the grounds that teaching them would be against their beliefs? Or would they be allowed to discriminate against gay teachers? What about children of gay parents who wish to enrol them at a CofE or Catholic school - will they be turned away?

Steppenwolf yes and a gay agency could discriminate on the grounds that it chooses to specialise in placing children with civil partners.

The point being the standard is simply are they good parents. No exemptions, I don't believe in exemptions from laws, just one law that covers everyone and allows for freedom of conscience too.

That way a Jewish agency might place with only Jewish families etc.

Setting up a "gay only" agency would support the fact that discrimination exists and I couldn't support that either. All agencies should play on a level all acting under the same law with no exemptions.

I personally do not support the Catholic Church (or any other religious group), but the issue is wider than that. It's about allowing differences based on personal conscience. It's about totalitarianism versus pluralism.

It should be interesting to watch events now that the churches have woken up to the fact that the EU is now in the grip of confident secularists, no longer about "building a Christian Europe" as represented in the Marian symbolism of the flag.

The churches now realise (post the draft EU Constitution) that state funding of churches is not in prospect. That changes so much.

Doubt if the C of E bishops would now agree to chair "Soundings" groups to promote elected regional assemblies in England as they did so cravenly a few years ago.

Of course they have to obey the secular law, as laid down by Parliament, or take the consequences. There's no dispute about that: the dispute is about what the law should be. As I understand, even if a Catholic adoption agency was financed entirely by voluntary donations and received no funding or recompense from the state, it would still be compelled to disregard fundamental Catholic beliefs which, as far as I can see, certainly do no harm to the children concerned or anybody else, but which may offend a very small number of people who would have to go to one of the other agencies if they ever wanted to adopt a child. If these were Satanist agencies which insisted that they would only place children with true followers of the Devil I'd think differently, but it seems way over the top to deny the Catholics this freedom. And Cameron's suggestion that they should be given a few years to adjust is a pathetic cop-out.

This could cause problems with MPs. I feel that as long as the Church doesnt interfere with peoples free choice to adopt through other agencies, the Church should be allowed an exemption. As I understand it, thats very much what the Church has been arguing. It wont stop people adopting, but it doesnt want its own agencies pulled into it.

Steppenwolf, the trouble with that is that most voluntary agencies cannot do that when the standard is shifted from the rights of children to find good homes, to the rights of parents to adopt.

It's clear that Catholic agencies will - if they lose the court case - have to shut, and shut without letting another agency take their cases and hand the children to unmarried couples -

so I do hope the Government is prepared to work hard for those full one third of hard to place children that Catholic agencies currently find happy homes for with single people both gay and straight, and with married couples.

My last post on the topic as thinking of the government stranding those children is just too depressing.

As far as I know, satanists have not conspired to conceal child abuse, something the Catholic hierarchy has done for many years.

Good to see that about 90% of posters are horrified by Cameron's appalling behaviour. CH really is the forum of the grassroots

Can't understand Tory T. He's obviously a Catholic, seems to want to sit on the fence, yet does say that he hopes the Catholics win through at the Court of Human Rights.

So do I and I'm a Jew!

Deeply disappointing, but not unexpected in view of his equating civil partnership with marriage in his conference speech. No point in going over all the arguments of last week's thread again.

It seems it will be a free vote. It is up to everyone who is against this and who has a Tory MP to lobby them - in rational, not rabid anti-gay terms because that is not the argument - to vote against. This will not stop the regulations but if a v strong majority of Tory MPs votes against, it will be warning shot across Mr Cameron's bows that he does not speak for the party on this.

Also please stop this nonsense of people saying that a religious group is asking not to obey the law - if the law gives recognition that it is legitmate to discriminate in favour of opposite sex couples in adoption then that will be the law and agencies will not be disobeying it if (whether RC or not) they choose to exercise that discrimination.

"Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children"


CH is not the forum of the grassroots. Most conservative members actually want us to win the next election, rather than castigate Cameron for not being sufficiently Europhobic.

Larry I don't sit on the fence at all.

My position is

1. No exemptions under the law


2. The law is wrong. The standard for any non-govt agency ought to be "are your parents good parents".

That gives Jewish, Buddhist, gay-only, Catholic, Quaker etc agencies the right to place with certain groups of parents if the parents are good ones.

Now that really was the last post!

I see Davis has come out publicly in favour of ther exemption... The vote will be a free one, the BBC reports.

I agree with most people commenting on this site.

If, as Cameron claims, he wants religious charities to play a role in providing social services, then he must be prepared to accept that some of them will have different values to secular agencies, and will act accordingly. If he can't tolerate that fact, then he should stop talking about involving them in social work.

Tory voters almost two to one against, so Cameron comes out in favour. This will I believe represent the turning point when those who have been giving him the benefit of the doubt will turn against his metropolitan trendy liberal movement.
Where these disenchanted people will go to place their vote is uncertain but it will lead to a fracture in British politics which will be recognised in the future as a major event.
I have been struck in recent weeks by well educated friends talking openly about supporting the BNP and UKIP. They all talk as if Britain is disintegrating around them, so the only course of action is a desperate one.
I am not writing this in anger, quite the opposite, I am very sad that the party that my elders encouraged me to support and that I have supported for over thirty years should come to this.

This example confirms that Cameron would not only blindly support EU-driven legislation but seek to gold-plate it.

This is exactly why Dave should have kept quiet on this issue, unfortunately a vocal section of our 'grassroots' still think it is acceptable for powerful organisations to treat certain sections of society as second class citizens.

If the church wish to take public money to provide a service they should ensure that service is fair to everyone and not just those who conform to their outdated view of right and wrong. Dave is right to support this bill but wrong to discuss it and so inflame the homophobia among certain members which will only cement the incorrect opinion among the public that we are a devisive, outdated party.


I hope that, after some calm reflection you will retreat from your claims that this is an attack on 'religious liberty'. No one's freedom of religion; of worship; of thought; or speech, is under attack. This issue is about public policy on a wholly secular issue: adoption.

Surely Christians aren't about to jump on the victimhood bandwagon are they? We know how little sympathy there is round here for that sort of behaviour.


It’s an EU law that has no relevance to our country; you are correct about opt out but that hasn’t stopped a government implementing it. The government are supposed to make the argument for a law that has a negative effect on Catholics, gays and orphans not the leader of the opposition. The PC project is fatally floored when the equality legislation puts the views of a minority above those of another minority. The law of the land should reflect how society wishes to be governed, not the ideology of the few.

The travesty of Cameron’s decision is that it defies logic, common sense, tolerance and the view of vast majority of the population. Most people would want Catholic adoption agencies to continue whilst gays were not discriminated against, a solution cannot be that hard to find. Instead Cameron has nailed his colours to a divisive policy, that the government can’t even agree on and that signals a willingness to accept dogma over common sense. Not a policy I wish to support.

Mark, just because your friends are "well-educated" does not mean they are incapable of making foolish decisions. Look at Blair!

How the hell is being non-discriminatory "trendy liberal"? Wouldn't it look odd if David kept quiet on which way he would vote or on what his views are?

I am truly disgusted by some of the views posted on this thread. I believe that some members like discrimination and would like it to continue. It is scary for me to read views lambasting David's support of civil partnerships and equating them with marriage.

The world has moved on. People's opinions have moved on. The Conservative party must move on with David as leader. If some people do not want to move as well they must find another party to support.

My final post on the issue.

Most conservative members actually want us to win the next election, rather than castigate Cameron for not being sufficiently Europhobic.

In fact, you will find that most conservatives actually want us to win the next election as conservatives; not to suck up to the EU for its Christophobic bigotry.

"The world has moved on. People's opinions have moved on. The Conservative party must move on with David as leader."

On this issue, however, we know from polling evidence that David Cameron is out of step with the large majority of Conservative voters - let alone Conservative members.

"The world has moved on. People's opinions have moved on. The Conservative party must move on with David as leader. If some people do not want to move as well they must find another party to support."

Any facts to back up the argument about moving on? Children in care need loving homes. If I was in care Id want the greatest chance to find a permanent home. Id rather have faith based agencies involved in the system with an exemption, rather than them out and no exemption. Forcing a blanket law on all agencies regardless of objections is unfair. The child must come first. If the Tories believe in choice, than really they should back the exemption.

Change doesnt come immediately and you cant just make the Church open up. Look at Northern Ireland for a textbook example of slow but steady change.

A phobia is an irrational fear of something. In my view, there's nothing irrational about fearing the increasing power of the Catholic Church, particularly when its record on children's welfare is far from impressive.

CDM....just because your friends are "well-educated" does not mean they are incapable of making foolish decisions.
STEPPENWOLFF....If some people do not want to move as well they must find another party to support.

You have both just agreed with me, foolish decisions are made out of desperation because they don't want to move to a society which is at odds with what they believe. They no longer feel that the Conservatives under Cameron are representing their views and even worse they feel threatened by the society which they live in.

This whole episode has shown that if you are in any way a social conservative (I am not particularly as it happens), then the Conservative Party is not the party for you, especially if you are an orthodox Christian. The Tory left and many of the modernisers (CDM, RobD, to pick but two) are secularist vigilantes who have now shown themselves more than willing to use the blunt instrument of the law to override other people's freedom of conscience. There is nothing to stop these people from now using the law to withdraw the doctor's right of conscientious objection to abortion. This is not liberalism but authoritarianism dressed up as modish concern for those minorities favoured by the left (as opposed to minorities such as the Catholic Church which are reviled by the left). Moderate Muslim voters, please take note.

When the vote happens, we will doubtless be treated to a public display of vituperation from Bercow, the poisoned dwarf of the Tory left. The argument that this is the law is the weakest of them all: so was the law that used to criminalise homosexual acts and the law that banned Catholics from public life. One of the most interesting developments in the last year has been the resurgence in both major parties of two ancient British bigotries - anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism - dressed up in both cases as a concen for human rights.

"particularly when its record on children's welfare is far from impressive."

Its record on adoption is excellent.

My final post on the issue.

Sounds like good news from Steppenwolf.

If he has a broblem identifying "trendy liberals" I suggest he takes a look in the mirror.

I'm also glad that David Cameron has made this statement. It proves we made a mistake choosing him. The party has been hi-jacked by a socialist and he must go.

David Davis now stands for at least 90% of all Conservatives.

Well, congratulations, Dave. Another reason for core Conservative voters to desert your Party for another or stay at home.

100% agree with you Larry....David Davis is not only a man of the common people but has proved himself to be a skillful politician on many occasions.

Well, we certainly do need "clear rules against discrimination" in this country, otherwise people might start thinking for themselves and holding opinions about when and how it is right and fair to discriminate, which would never do. Catholics, Satanists - all the same, it seems, except that the Satanists don't have such a poor record of conspiring to conceal their child abuse, aka human sacrifice.

I'm delighted that Cameron has made a fool of himself yet again.

I left for UKIP six months ago, not because they are going to win but because its full of people who want to put the mockers on Cameron and his pack of pinkos.

Once he's gone many of us will rejoin the Tories.

Commenting on the stand taken by the Roman Catholic Church over adoptions of children by homosexual couples, UK Independence Party Chairman John Whittaker said: “This entire situation has come about because of State intrusion into matters that should be left to private conscience.

“It is a consequence of contradictory legislation that tries to protect rights to religious beliefs at the same time as preventing actions that stem from those beliefs.

“This Government is constructing a State morality backed by legislation. Not only is this wrong in principle – it is a practical impossibility as this situation demonstrates.”

“This Government is constructing a State morality backed by legislation. Not only is this wrong in principle – it is a practical impossibility as this situation demonstrates.”

So UKIP thinks people should be able to chose their own morality? That's liberal, not conservative.

Cameron's made the right choice. Frankly the future most children in care have to look forward to is a scandal and to keep children in care on the basis of evidence-less beliefs has the Catholic Church is arguing is obsence.

The evidence points to same-sex couples who adopt being good parents who take on some the least wanted children in care. If there are child protection concerns by all means individual same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt, but unless those concerns exist to try and keep children in care is morally wrong.

As for those abandoning the party for UKIP and - most shockingly the fascist BNP - good riddance. For the past 15 years the kind of people now quitting the party have been helping keep Labour in power and making the Conservative party unelectable with their fanatical obsessions. I'm glad to see the back of them.

Good for you Mr Cameron!!!!

It is a crying shame that Cameron is supporting this illiberal legislation. Gays have the legal right to adopt, there are plenty of agencies that will provide them a service.

Why should individuals or organisations be forced to act against their principles or beliefs, especially when there appears to be no benefit to anyone.

Well said Tristan. The days of the Conservative Party being a narrow, intolerant sect are finally coming to an end.

I am very pleased that David Cameron came down on this side of the debate, but not at all surprised that David Davis didn’t. This difference in outlook separated the two candidates at the leadership election and will continue to make the difference at the next GE.

The Catholic Church’s position is simply prejudice masquerading as conscience. Our laws should not be designed to accommodate prejudice.

Tristan, perhaps you can explain to me how the Conservative Party under David Cameron will be any improvement on Labour? Or is it just for purely selfish personal reasons that you want him to win teh next election?

Ah "prejudice masquerading as conscience", is it, Mark? I could of course say the same thing about you. But then you of course are the man who "knows" that god does not exist. It would seem that two millenia of Western thinking have been a mere dress rehearsal for the Coming of Mark Fulford. I don't believe that the Pope claims quite the same degree of moral infallibility as you.

Well said Tristan. The days of the Conservative Party being a narrow, intolerant sect are finally coming to an end.

I think you mean they've just begun.

Zorro, I thought you left the party?

There's s site just for people like you. It's called UKIPHome.

Mark Fulford @ 11:21 -

"Our laws should not be designed to accommodate prejudice."

Why not? That seems to me to be just a prejudice on your part.

Michael - I have no problem with people having a freedom of conscience, however I would not let them use that as an excuse to use public money to discriminate against certain sections of the public.

I am actually against the broad thrust of this bill as I don't think we should be interfering in private people and company's policies. In the case of a guest house not admitting gay couples, I say let them as they will go out of business soon enough anyway if they alienate minorities in that way.

However this case is about the church taking public money to provide a public service, in this case they should not be allowed to treat gay couple any differently from straight couples.

At the end of the day I think all children should have the right to be placed with the best possible family for them, the catholic church would like to stop these children being placed with loving gay couple who may be the best solution for them which IMO is wrong.

"Why should we let an outdated organisation with outdated views, effectively black mail the government into giving them an exemption?"

If their views are outdated then why did a yougov poll showing 42% supporting them?

"No one's freedom of religion; of worship; of thought; or speech, is under attack. This issue is about public policy on a wholly secular issue: adoption."

People's freedom to associate with and provide services to whom they wish is under attack. As far as I'm concerned this is not an issue of sexual or religious politics but good old fashioned libertaranism versus an interfering state trying to run peoples' lives for them.

This Cameron policy is attacked as part of a "metropolitan trendy liberal" tendency.

Rest assured that I for one consider myself a metropolitan liberal in many matters (not "trendy" - obviously that is a pejorative rather than a description), and I am against this. So Cameron has actually set even part of the metropolitan liberal constituency against him on this. The reason is that it is nothing to do with the private lives of individuals, on which one may be totally accepting of gays, but is about (a) respect for others' religious beliefs (a highly liberal concept) and (b) not over-regulating (ditto). It is also about 2 other concepts which are nothing to do with being liberal: (a) belief about what type of household, all other things being equal, are best for children to be brought up in (i.e. there is nothing illiberal about discrimination if there is a good reason for it) and (b) the illogicality of treating people who want to adopt as the "customer" when that customer is the child.

Although metropotitan liberals, as others, are guilty of muddled thinking, it is not compulsary.

Davis's statement is however encouraging that this is being treated as a personal Cameron view.

But this law would apply even if the Catholic adoption agencies were funded by voluntary donations, and received no public funding at all, wouldn't it? Which I guess is how they started out, before the state intervened, as with education.

Zorro, I thought you left the party?

Yes I did. Doesn't stop me being a conservative though.

I'm not interested in going on somewhere called UKIP home where everybody agrees Dave's a tosspot. I want to wage war against people like you who are busy wrecking the Conservative Party with his help.

"But then you of course are the man who "knows" that god does not exist. It would seem that two millenia of Western thinking have been a mere dress rehearsal for the Coming of Mark Fulford."

Michael, there is no evidence that God exists but plenty that religious teachings change as they catch up with the times. Sooner or later the Catholic Church will change when it realises that being gay just isn't a big deal.

Londoner, if you're a liberal why do you support the Conservative Party?

Denis, since 1948 adoption has been run by the State. But, as with a variety of social services, the State continues to make use of all sorts of voluntary agencies.

Londoner, quite so. RobD, the argument about "public money" is specious. Catholics pay taxes and therefore have as much entitlement as anybody to argue how public money should be spent. In any case, if your argument makes any sense at all, it is a green light for unlimited Government interference in the charitable sector which of course takes public money in many forms, not least through Gift Aid. This makes a complete mockery of the Conservatives' supposed belief in the virtues of a flourishing voluntary sector.....which I have never taken too seriously anyway.

Cameron has no choice but to obey EU Directives - he has a lot more to swallow yet as British Courts become subsidiary courts of the European Court of Justice in Brussels

The big hole is the argument that it's permissible for Catholics to place children with single gay parents but not with gay couples.

Neither am I convinced by ToryT's analysis that this is because of a "married/unmarried" divide. Many gay couples are availing themselves of civil partnerships, an no doubt that would get married if they had the chance. Suffice to say that the Catholic Church opposes gay marriage...

That said, I don't feel that compelling religious agencies to act against their beliefs in productive or helpful. The law has often allowed exceptions to general principles on the grounds of religious freedom, from Sikhs wearing turbans instead of motorcycle helmets to Catholic doctors refusing to carry out abortions. I don't think that a "Catholic opt-out" creates any more of an anomalous precedent than there is at the moment. Their right to religious freedom should be absolutely upheld.

I suppose TomTom thinks we'll all be speaking German soon? What they can't accomplish in war they struggle for in peace.

Mark, you are missing the point. Religious teaching does of course evolve because religions have to deal with society. Nothing surprising about that and the same is equally true of agnostic thinking. This is irrelevant to what is being discussed i.e. the Leninist belief of people such as you that because you are "right" and others are not just wrong but "prejudiced" than you have the right to ride roughshod over their private beliefs. Ethical humility is clearly not one of your vices.

First they will close the agencies------then the churches.

That would be "voluntary agencies" as in "agencies, run by people not directly employed by the state, but nevertheless funded by the state", and we know that he who pays the piper always likes to call the tune. One very good reason why "charities" should never receive any form of state funding, because then they inevitably become arms of the state. But is it not true that even if the Catholic agencies received no taxpayers' money, they would still be subject to this law?

I'm afraid, Londoner, the muddled thinking comes from you, not Cameron.

Firstly, we cannot have exemptions from the law based upon an individual's or group's assertion that a particular law is incompatible with their religious belief. That way lies the legalisation of polygamy; suttee; etc. etc.

Secondly, you continue to assert that this is about how best to bring up children and suggest that, somehow, this regulation will subvert that, when quite the reverse is true. Any adoption can only proceed when an independent social worker and a Judge think that the proposed match is in the best interests of the child concerned. What the Catholic Church seeks, is the power to override the best interests of a particular child if the proposed match is with a gay couple. They say that the 'best' match can never be with a gay couple. In circumstances for example, when parents tragically die and the only relatives capable of caring for the couple's orphaned children are a gay uncle/aunt and his/her partner, the Catholic Church would prefer placement outside the family than with carers whom the children know and love and whom a social worker and Judge have concluded are the best people to care for those children. They allow their dogma to come before the best interests of children and that, I'm afraid, is profoundly illiberal.

First part is wrong, CDM, because it would take too long and now be too hard to impose the German language on countries which already have English as their most common second language. But the second part is certainly true of some parts of the German establishment. If you can bear to do so, and risk finding out that your complacency is ill-advised, have a look at:


which is run by Germans.

"I suppose TomTom thinks we'll all be speaking German soon? What they can't accomplish in war they struggle for in peace"

Interestingly a German journalist ,concerned at present trends in German foreign policy,which show a degree of continuity from the Imperial era onwards is giving a talk this evening in Portcullis House entitled 'Germany's bid for great power status'
Perhaps TomTom is going.

Gareth, what rubbish. I shudder to think who instructs you of this is the kind of fallacious analogy you bring up in court. You know perfectly well that the analogy with suttee is bogus. On the one hand, a widow being forced to commit suicide. On the other hand, an adoption agency saying to a gay couple: we cannot help you but we will direct you to an adoption agency who can (of which there are many). I thought you were the master of nuance. Your touch seems to have deserted you on this occasion. And as for illiberal people imposing dogma on others, perhaps you should invest in a mirror?

CDM asks why if I am liberal, I support the Conservative Party. Oh dear. Do we now have people denying that liberalism is a strong strand amongst those many tendencies that make up the Conservative Party (and for that matter an interwoven strand in conservatism with a small "c" since at least Robert Peel)?

This is the same CDM asking me this who on the thread last week on this topic classified both the RC Church and (all) Ulster Protestants as "religious nuts". So if he wants Conservatism which has room neither for liberalism, nor for anyone with any religious convictions, what does that leave? Secular authoritarianism I suppose. I think CDM has a bit to learn.

Gareth: The assertion that "we cannot have exemptions from the law based upon an individual's or group's assertion that a particular law is incompatible with their religious belief" is plainly nonsense. I have already spelt out two such examples. The question, surely, is whether the right to religious freedom is outweighed by some other greater right. In the cases of polygamy, Sharia law, suttee or whatever other specious example you care to mention, there are very clear broader harms.

The same is not true in this case. The Catholic agency can simply refer the parents to a non-Catholic agency. It is surely analagous to the position on abortion, where an exemption for doctors opposed to it on religious grounds has existed as an integral part of the Abortion Act.

This is a shocking and deeply disappointing decision by David Cameron. Freedom of conscience and religious expression are every bit as important in a democracy as sexual equality rights and that needs to be recognised legally in cases such as this.

I respect the fact that David Cameron will be allowing a free vote within the Conservative Parliamentary party (which the Labour Party, in stark contrast, will not be doing) but I had hoped and, frankly expected, a more sensible view from the Leader than we appear to be getting.

Religious teaching does of course evolve because religions have to deal with society. Nothing surprising about that and the same is equally true of agnostic thinking.

Agnostic teaching doesn't claim to be guided by a higher being.

the Leninist belief of people such as you that because you are "right" and others are not just wrong but "prejudiced" than you have the right to ride roughshod over their private beliefs.

I'm happy to rephrase my opinion in terms of right and wrong: the Catholic Church is wrong to discriminate against homosexuals and law shouldn't be based on fallacies.

At the heart of the matter is this simple question: to what extent should the state decide what's right and wrong and then impose that decision upon others? My answer is when the action has consequences that affect others.

The consequence of an exception for the Catholic Church would be that the State would effectively be saying “they’ve got a point, gays don’t deserve equal treatment”. It would also allow us to discriminate against any other group for spurious reasons - or are we going to legislate that you can only discriminate if you’re religious?

Mr McGowan,

The principle I was attacking was the one put forward by Londoner, that religious belief ought to be sufficient to gain exemption from the law. I cited 2 examples (of the many possibles) where that would, to most people, be unacceptable. If you wish to defend the principle Londoner presented, then please do so. You say the analogies I chose were fallacious but you fail to explain why, preferring instead to descend into abuse ('who would ever instruct you' 'invest in a mirror' etc. etc.).

Agnostic teaching doesn't claim to be guided by a higher being: Mark, this is an irrelevant quibble and in any case, such teaching often elevates reason into the equivalent of a god e.g. the absurd claims made for the certainty surrounding the theory of evolution.

As for your second argument, all actions have "consequences for others", because no-one lives in a vacuum. This argument is basically the death knell of liberalism because "any consequence for others" (e.g. the amorphous concept of "giving offence") gives an excuse for state intervention....as the left well knows.

Londoner, I think you are indeed seeing a rather ugly procession of secular authoritarians. They like to style themselves as "social liberals" because it sounds more cuddly.

Yes, I know that it's off the topic of this thread, but since CDM has raised this matter the speaker is Horst Teubert, and his talk is entitled:

"Germany’s Bid for Great Power Status Through the EU"

He's addressed one meeting in Marlborough, and the remaining two events are:

6.30 pm Monday 29 January, The Grimond Room, Portcullis House Westminster (opposite Houses of Parliament)


7.15 pm Tuesday 30 January, New Bridge Inn, Chellaston Road

Topics include: The German EU presidency and the EU constitution, Energy Policy – a German tap in the EU pipeline? Cooperation with Russia – a return to the Twenties? Kosovo- Germany’s Balkan Policy, German policy and the USA, The internal effect of foreign policy on German society.

Biographical Note
Horst Teubert is 38 and from a family of musicians. After education at a Gymnasium (similar to a grammar school), he studied protestant theology at Munich and Heidelberg. As a conscientious objector he cared for mentally handicapped people instead of doing military service. He graduated in sociology from Marburg in 1999. From 2000 to 2001 he worked in an archive researching neonazism. Since then he has worked in journalism, principally as editor of Informationen zur deutschen Aussenpolitik, a group of independent journalists.

Deeply disappointing. I find David Cameron an engaging personality but this is just wrong.

As I've said in previous threads on the subject, this conflict is, in practical terms, completely unnecessary. 95% of adoptions are open to gay couples, who therefore have plenty of opportunity if they are otherwise suitable adopters.

In my view conservatives should a) only support legislation when it is necessary and b) ensure that it is pragmatic not dogmatic.

It was clear that this was gesture politics on the part of the Labour party; now it is clear that our new leaders have been infected by the same attitudes.

Those who are disappointed should, however, stay within the party and fight for a return to more traditional conservative values and policies.

My own view is that we are going in the wrong direction at the wrong time. The public are not becoming more liberal, far from it, there's probably even more concern about crime, immigration, security, defence now than there was two years ago. I've said before, the 2005 platform was probably the right one, but simply too early for the majority to accept.

Gareth, I explained why your suttee example is flawed and I have never understood the objection to polygamy if all affected parties consent. You seem to be taking refuge in the argument that the law is the law: strange indeed for a self-styled liberal to be effectively using the argument that the wishes of the "moral majority" must always prevail.

You accused Londoner of "muddled thinking" (hardly courteous), not me and then went on to present two non-analogies. Londoner put his case very well. It doesn't need any elaboration by me.

"or are we going to legislate that you can only discriminate if you’re religious?"

As the law stands, quite a lot religious "discrimination" is permitted. Denominational schools can give preference to pupils who share their religious beliefs; Anglican clergy can refuse to marry divorcees; orthodox Jews can refuse to appoint women as rabbis; and there are innumerable other examples.

If the Conservative Party were to conclude that this was all unacceptable, and should be outlawed in the name of anti-discrimination, I think that any religious believer (and classical liberal) would have to conclude the Party no longer represented their interests.

On the contrary Michael, you asserted that the analogy was flawed. Mere assertion of a fact is not, in itself, evidence of the truth of the fact.

You leapt to Londoner's defence, I assumed you would be able to justify that. I'm surprised you decline to do so.

I did suggest that Londoner was guilty of 'muddled thinking'. I certainly don't think that the phrase is discourteous though. Courtesy does not extend to claiming to agree with something with which one does not agree. In any event, the phrase 'muddled thinking' was borrowed from Londoner who, I am sure, intended no offence when he/she (who, apparently knows me rather well) used it.

Gareth, I have never said that adoption by a gay couple should be banned; I have just said "other things being equal" a couple of opposite sexes is better. In your example of the gay uncle, clearly other things may not be equal. It therefore implies the need/right to discriminate if an agency (or natural parent(s)) shares my view. I have never denied the rights of other agencies to take a different view.

My point about muddled thinking was specifically aimed at two assertions. The first is that all discimination is wrong - discrimination just means making a choice taking account of a certain criterion. The point is whether that criterion is legitimate to take into account, I think the advantage of having both a male and female parent is a legitimate thing to take into account (which is nothing to do with being liberal or not). The second assertion which is muddled thinking is considering people wishing to adopt as the customers. The child and, depending on the circumstances, the natural parent are the customers in my book.

A further muddle pointed out by others is the blow this is against religiously motivated charities working with the public sector. Part of the point of supporting the voluntary sector in the welfare field should be that there is a diversity of attitudes - it's not meant to be just outsourcing. I accept that there are limits to how wide that diversity of attitudes can be, but a view which polls show is supported widely, and is a deep conviction of the Church which I believe now gets more people to its services on an average week-end than any other, is hardly a way-out view.

"I shall vote for the regulations, because I think it is right to have in this country clear rules against discrimination...

except when selecting Conservative candidates?

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