.- The Catholic Church in Scotland is threatening to take legal action to block a new UK law which could force Catholic adoption agencies to close.
Homosexual couples were given adoption rights under Scottish Parliament last year, but ministers reassured the Catholic Church that Catholic agencies could remain exempt.
However, the Parliament of the United Kingdom recently passed an Equality Act which overrules the Scottish legislature’s assurances opens Catholic adoption agencies to prosecution if they refuse to adopt to couples on the grounds of their homosexual lifestyle.
The new legislation would make it illegal to discriminate against homosexual couples in the provision of any goods or services, including adoption.
The Catholic Church insists this would force them to close agencies, as it would be against their religious beliefs to place a child in a homosexual household, reported The Scotsman.
While England has denied the Catholic Church an exemption, some Scottish ministers were reportedly lobbying for a special exemption over the weekend. The Scottish Executive, however, insists that the legislation will go ahead as stated, without exemptions, and will give Catholic agencies two years to come into line with the law.
The Bishop's Conference in Scotland is now seeking legal advice on their rights and on a possible judicial review.
John Deighan, parliamentary officer for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said the question is whether the UK government is stepping over its competence by bringing into law regulations that do away with rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.
“We are not even being allowed to follow our consciences in saying we think married couples provide a better home," he told The Scotsman.