Catholic Charities in Boston has allowed 13 out of 720 foster children to be adopted by same-sex couples in the past two decades, saying state regulations prohibit the agency from discriminating against same-sex couples.
''If we could design the system ourselves, we would not participate in adoptions to gay couples, but we can't," the group’s president, Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, told the Boston Globe.
The Oct. 22 report said the adoptions took place as of 1987 as part of a contract with the state Department of Social Services. The children placed with the same-sex couples are among those most difficult to place, either because they have physical or emotional problems or they are older.
Hehir described the decision to permit these adoptions as a legal accommodation in the name of a greater social good. He said if they did not comply with the state's nondiscrimination clause, they would not be able to do place hundreds of other children in stable homes.
But C. J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, said this practice violates Catholic teaching that homosexual families are not good for children. The Catholic organization should benefit of a ''conscience clause," exempting them from having to place foster children with same-sex couples, he told the Globe.
Not all Catholic Charities work with same-sex couples, the Globe discovered. Catholic Charities of Worcester refers same-sex couples to other adoption agencies, as does Catholic Charities in Dallas.
Catholic Charities organizations throughout the country run independently and are free to set their adoption rules based on the state laws that govern them, as well as the priorities of the archdiocese officials in their community.