Faith, Charity, and a Little Less Hope


The Corner approvingly cites Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's announcement that he intends to push for legislation that would exempt religious groups providing adoption services from state antidiscrimination laws, thereby allowing groups like Catholic Charities to refuse to consider prospective gay parents fror the kids in their charge.

Now, as this applies to private adoption—that is, kids placed there voluntarily by parents—I've got no real beef with this, though as I said earlier this week, I find it puzzling that deeply held convictions (as, for instance, against gay parenting) deserve this kind of deference only when they're arrived at by asking "What Would Jesus Do?" But the article quoted at The Corner also tells us this:

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.

Now, that's another barrel of babies entirely. As I noted in a feature article on gay adoption last summer, gay couples seem to be disproportionately disposed to adopt those hardest-to-place special needs kids. Among those adoptive parents are folks like the Loftons, health care workers who have been raising five HIV-positive children since infancy. When the state takes charge of kids, it has an obligation to help find them the best homes it can. And if an agency announces that, as a matter of principle, it's not even going to consider a couple like the Loftons, it's grossly irresponsible for the state to outsource kids in dire need of a home to that agency. That isn't a question of religious liberty; it's a question of what the state owes to children in its custody. It owes them a home—and it has no business denying them one just because some candidate parents don't meet with the approval of Catholic doctrine.