.- Gov. Mitt Romney said he would sign a bill banning abortion if one were passed and would meet with the state’s Catholic bishops to discuss their request to exempt Catholic Charities from providing adoptions to same-sex couples.
“I had a good discussion with Archbishop O'Malley about the important role the Catholic Church plays as one of the largest social service providers in Massachusetts, and the vital service they perform in the placement for adoption of children with severe emotional and physical needs,” said Gov. Romney.
He followed by stating that he “would like to see the Church continue to provide this service. I believe religious institutions should be able to carry out their mission of helping people without violating their faith. However, as I've said in the past, I cannot by executive order waive the state's anti-discrimination laws.”
Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer told the Boston Herald that the governor would back a state ban on abortion if lawmakers passed such a measure as they did in South Dakota because he believes “states should have the right to be pro-life if that is the will of the people.”
Regarding adoptions by same-sex couples, Romney reportedly said he respects and honors the free practice of religion but suggested he could not give church groups a waiver from a law requiring that all adoption agencies work with same-sex couples.
The state’s four Catholic bishops have said requiring Catholic Charities to arrange adoptions for same-sex couples violates Church teachings and the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.
In December, Catholic Charities’ 42-member board of trustees voted to continue to allow same-sex couples to adopt but said they recognized the need for more discussion with the archbishop.