17 February 2006

Okay, A Mormon and A Catholic Walk Into A Room ...

... and tell the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts that they can't have everything they want. Just over a week after the House and Senate caved to the demands of --- mostly --- the Catholic Church concerning the release of financial records for religious institutions with more than $500,000 in revenue, Gov. Mitt Romney and Mass. Rep. Eugene O' Flaherty told the bishops that their plan to deny gay couples the right to adopt through Catholic Charities would not fly in the Commonwealth, though the Vatican posits that such adoptions are "gravely immoral."

The board of Catholic Charities was rightly angered, not only over the bishops' plan to seek a legal exemption but also that the Church is taking their legal fees --- having hired prestigious, thorough and expensive Ropes & Gray --- out of Catholic Charities pocket. That certainly accords with the spirit in which the money was given to them, I'm sure.

Anyway, Romney states that since such an exemption would require legislation, he can't do anything about it. Well, I suppose that's not so much a rousing dismissal of the idea as much as a buck-passing, but he's certainly not enthusiastic. O' Flaherty also side-steps his personal feelings and simply says that the Legislature wouldn't have "an appetite to entertain that. ... We have enough on our plate already." The Leg., after all, passed a law over a decade ago in which adoption agencies are forbidden to discriminate against gay couples. The Catholic Church insists it can get around this law due to the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.

I know there's some precedent for legal discrimination similar to this, a private organization not allowing gays to join their ranks (The Boy Scouts of America being one example, but I believe that the children being adopted are --- even if under the supervision of Catholic Charities --- wards of the state. Therefore, their case is moot. Anyone know for sure? Either of you readers?

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