DEFENDING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, ROMNEY TO FILE BILL EXEMPTING RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS FROM GAY ADOPTION REQUIREMENT
Calling it an issue of "religious liberty," Governor Mitt Romney today said he plans to file legislation to permit religious institutions to perform adoptions without violating the tenets of their faith.
Today, the board of Catholic Charities voted to stop doing adoptions because of state law which requires that gays be given equal consideration for the placement of children. Because of the Church's teaching, Catholic agencies may not provide adoptions to gay parents.
"This is a sad day for neglected and abandoned children. In this case, it's a mistake for our laws to put the rights of adults over the needs of children. While I respect the board's decision to stay true to their principles, I find the current state of the law deeply disturbing and a threat to religious freedom," said Romney.
"I ask the Legislature to work with me on a bill that I will file to ensure that religious institutions are able to participate in the important work of adoption in a way that always respects and never forces them to compromise their firmly held beliefs," he said.
Romney's bill would authorize religious organizations to provide adoption services consistent with their beliefs by creating an exemption from the state's nondiscrimination laws.
All Massachusetts adoption agencies are licensed by the state Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).
In addition, since 1977, the state Department of Social Services (DSS) has contracted with Catholic Charities to provide special needs adoption services to children with severe emotional and physical needs. Currently, the waiting list for children in DSS care awaiting adoption is close to 700.