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Catholic Care loses its five-year legal battle

By on Friday, 2 November 2012

Childhood and Family Life

The adoption agency Catholic Care has lost its five year fight to reserve its services for heterosexual couples only, in a landmark court ruling.

The adoption agency based in Leeds, had taken its case to the Upper Tribunal in order to win the right to maintain charitable status while being permitted to refuse to place children with same-sex couples, in accordance with the charity’s Catholic ethos.

However, they were defeated today as the Charity Commission argued that the charity’s stance is “divisive, capricious and arbitrary” and undermined the dignity of homosexual couples whose parenting abilities are “beyond question”.

The tribunal concluded that Catholic Care had failed to come up with “weighty and convincing reasons” as to why the agency should be allowed to discriminate against gay couples who were trying to access their services.

Emma Dixon, who was representing the Charity Commission, told tribunal judge, Mr Justic Sales, that Catholic Care’s desried arrangement would violate Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlaws discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and other characteristics. She said: “A requirement to operate within the tenets of the Church cannot constitute Article 14 justification.

“To do so would be to offer protection to the substance of the Church’s belief that homosexuality is sinful.

“To do so would not only be divisive, capricious and arbitrary, it would be excluding from assessment couples whose personal qualities and aptitude for child-rearing are beyond question.”

She added: “There is, as the charity now accepts, no basis whatsoever for calling into question the skills and abilities of same-sex couples as adoptive parents, including as parents of ‘hard to place’ children…it is not necessary to exclude same-sex couples in order to find suitable and loving adoptive parents for children.

“Indeed, the reverse is true. To excluse from assessment same-sex couple’s whose personal qualities and aptitude for child rearing are beyond question would be to allow considerations favouring marriage to prevail over the best interests of the chlid, which would be neither objectively justified nor proportionate.”

But Monica Carss-Frisk QC, who represented Catholic Care, argued that the Commission’s focus put the needs of children second and said it was “tantamount to putting the interests of the helper before those of the helpless”.

  • Sweetjae

    “love” should NOT be the only defining criteria here or you would fall into an immoral abyss that nobody can stop.

  • JabbaPapa
  • JabbaPapa

    the person who will bring their child up to distrust or even hate people purely based on who they love

    Baseless accusation — or if you’re talking about inculcating one’s children with one’s own understanding of “us and them”, this is a universal tendency of our species, and it is limited to religious views not in the slightest.

    Just think of all those countless numbers of people indoctrinating their children to think that religiously-minded people are “bigots”, “irrational”, and “superstitious”…

    The moral delinquents in question are not “the homosexuals” — it’s the actively militant destroyers of our cultural heritage and our religious freedoms that are forcing their own personal views on the whole of society, nobody else…

  • JabbaPapa

    Can you cite any recent (within the last 5 years) that support your stance??

    http://www.frc.org/issuebrief/new-study-on-homosexual-parents-tops-all-previous-research

  • Sweetjae

    The evidence is right in front of you, anything that is not based on the Natural and Moral Law is a given already a malformed leg to stand on.

  • JabbaPapa

    in the real world i know more people who are not married, same-sex or
    single who have children and i have to categorically state that their
    children are so much better off. There are more children out there with
    divorced parents who are more messed up.

    Are you aware that “divorced parents” are, by definition, unmarried ?

    So you say that the children of *these* unmarried parents are “messed up” (and, freudian-slip-wise *more* messed up), whilst claiming “categorically” that the children of unmarried parents are “better off” ???

    Or are you simply so keen in your one-sided pursuit of this trendy political agenda that any old self-contradiction will do ?

  • Sweetjae

    It’s not just based on our Religion (at least we based ours on Someone higher, how about you?) but our diagreement with gay-marriage is also its not based on Natural Law, neither Bilological procreative mechanism and development for a continuation of the species or any Moral law.

    Do you agree with a brother marrying his sister because they have “love” for each other? How about a man and a young man below 18? Why do we have a minor limit? Why set it at number 18?

  • Charles Martel

    “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for
    light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for
    bitter.” God will not be mocked. 

  • Acleron

    That paper is flawed in so many ways.

    It has been criticised by the publishing journal

    ‘In reality, only two respondents lived with a lesbian couple for their entire childhoods, and most did not live with lesbian or gay parents for long periods, if at all.’http://chronicle.com/blogs/percolator/controversial-gay-parenting-study-is-severely-flawed-journals-audit-finds/30255

    The paper is a good example of an author with a political agenda not applying skepticism to his own work. A fail in anybody who purports to be an academic. 

  • Acleron

    As theists have little idea of natural law, that can be discarded immediately. As for ‘Moral Law’, that is purely your belief based on 2000 year old rules of conduct that may or may not have been appropriate to a primitive society.

    But regardless of the above, you have presented no evidence, just baseless assertion. Perhaps, like alternative medicine scammers, you don’t actually understand the concept of evidence.

  • Megaera

    Love is immoral?!  Really?!  

    ‘If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.’

  • http://twrl.github.com/ Tom Robbins

    In nature paedophilia and cannibalism are common; clothes, literature, and investing a third of your lifespan in raising a child are not. I wouldn’t recommend natural examples as a moral compass.

    As for adoption by same-sex couples, the preponderance of evidence about humans is that it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

  • Megaera

    ‘Objective data shows that homosexuals are much more likely to sexually

    abuse children.’This is factually incorrect, and, as it underpins all the rest of your arguments, they are also incorrect.  Please post concrete evidence for this assertion.  

    The peer-reviewed studies I have read indicate that heterosexual men (men who prefer women as their adult sexual partners) sexually abuse children (boys and girls) at a higher rate than any homosexual adults.  These abusers are men who would *never* consider a relationship with another adult man: they are not homosexual in orientation.  This is not to say that homosexual people never abuse children - unfortunately, there are abusers of every gender and sexual orientation -  but all the evidence is that they do so at a considerably lower rate than heterosexual men.  

    By the way, Fred West was not homosexual.  I know you did not say outright that he was, but his name was included in such a way that it might be misunderstood, and I am not sure whether you are aware that he was heterosexual.   

    I agree that predators seek out vulnerable children.  But, in all honesty, the predators are not who you think they are.

    All prospective adoptive parents are required to undergo a rigorous assessment before they may adopt.  This is supposed to weed out anybody who is unsuitable to parent a child.  People (including me!) who have their own biological children undergo no such assessment.  Unless the protocols for assessing people before adoption are very poor (and there is no reason to suppose that they are) we must hope that adopted children find healthy and happy homes, and are significantly better off than they would be in Care (where there has historically been a great deal of sexual abuse of children) or in foster homes. 

  • Megaera

    Except in the case of adult siblings, these situations would be covered by laws of consent.  Both partners must be legally adult and capable of meaningful consent (as an animal is not) or they cannot be married.  
    A 16 year old can only marry with the consent of his/her parents or guardians.
    Consanguinity laws ensure that siblings may not marry.

    There is a huge difference between these scenarios, and a marriage between two unrelated, legally competent, consenting adults, so there is no need to worry about them.  :)

  • Megaera

    In all fairness, all taxpayers see their money being used in ways they would never want it used, sometimes, but not always, for religious reasons.  

    Quakers have to accept that the taxes they pay will be used to finance wars.  Eco-activists have to accept that their taxes will be used to subsidize private oil and nuclear power companies.  
    The uncharitable have to accept that their taxes will be used to fund the NHS and support payments for the disabled and impoverished.
    And so on…  

    No ordinary citizen gets to choose what our tax money gets spent on.  If the government of the day decides to use our money to bail out a bank rather than to house the homeless, then we are stuck with that decision.  

  • chrism

    Reply to Paul

    Couldn’t agree more. Lived in HK for many years . Now live in France , thank God.

  • Mystia

     completely agree religion is morally bankcrupt. Children should be placed in a loving house hold rather than none based on religous views after all studies show children do equally well  in stable same sex household

  • JabbaPapa

    That paper is flawed in so many ways.

    I see — so when you are given the *evidence* that you requested, it’s immediately rejected by you.

    Figures.

    Do you know the difference between the words “evidence” and “proof” ? My impression is that you don’t.

    It has been criticised by the publishing journal

    Wrong — it has had a peer review, including some negative elements from critics, organised — as is perfectly normal — by that journal.

    The paper is a good example of an author with a political agenda not
    applying skepticism to his own work. A fail in anybody who purports to
    be an academic.

    Your comment is a good example of somebody automatically rejecting evidence contrary to his prejudice — a fail in anyone criticising the ordinary procedures of academic research.

  • Acleron

    The Journal commissioned the investigation shown in the link I gave you.

    If you think that concluding that same sex couples are worse at parenting based on a survey that has two appropriate subjects but claims 250 then you would accept anything that feeds your belief system.

    BTW if you had actually read the link I gave you you might have not doubled down on your errors.

    Another major criticism was the reviewers. Half of them had already espoused views similar to yours, they also uncritically accepted rubbish only because it agreed with their beliefs.

    So it’s not facts, not evidence and certainly isn’t science.

  • Mystia

     Actually this paper has been discredited to the point it should have never been released. First problem would be the way its broad way homosexual household was define. Secondly a lasting same sex household was just 2 couples this is not an adequate sample size to make such claims. Theres a reason that almost all child support agencies support that theres no difference between home/hetro couples because time and time again properly researched studies show this time and time again

  • Mystia

     I can quite easily provide statistics that those with religion are more likely to commit violant crimes and end up in jail than those without. Should this be used to deny every religious couple the right to foster or adopt or child?? Or would you agree with a judge whom sided with the religious claiming that this was discrimination and they have an equal right to adopt under the law

  • 12Maria34
  • Kersi Nana

     you know how silly those kinds of “arguments” sound?! -.-
    of course you do not, that´s why you posted them, without realising how stupid that makes you

    as if religion would be moral – ha, what a laught!

  • Mystia

    Last time i checked marriage isnt a nessery requirement for reproduction. Gay marriage is the exact same heterosexual.
    Unless your claiming that a marriage between an elderly or infertile couple is somehow inferior based on thier inability to breed. If you want moral order you should start with removing religion

  • Megaera

    Thank you for the link.  

    I do hope you understand that Conservapedia is in no way objective (I asked about a claim of ‘objective evidence’).  

    Please also note that the American College of Pediatricians, which is quoted in the article you link to, is not a reputable or objective organisation.  It holds ‘core beliefs’ rather than acknowledging scientific evidence which conflicts with the ideals of its members.  It should in no way be confused with the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is the reputable and objective organisation that the ACP broke away from, because they could not bear the bright light of objective evidence that their prejudices were ill-founded.  Please note that I do not believe that science and religion are in any way incompatible, but the ACP clearly do, and therefore should not be trusted.

    I am not sure what relevance an article on violence between partners in homosexual relationships has to the subject under discussion.  Perhaps you mean that children should not be adopted into families where partners may be violent towards one another?  I would agree with that, of course.  

    It is certainly no secret that domestic violence occurs between partners of all genders and orientations.  Generally speaking, men are more likely to be physically violent than women: consequently, violence against a partner is most common in heterosexual and male homosexual relationships, and least common in lesbian relationships.  The comparison offered in the article you link to is only about violence against men in relationships: yes, of course men are less likely to be attacked by a female partner than a male partner.  And so are women.  Overall, women are safest (though not completely safe) from domestic violence when they have a female partner than a male partner.  I would never say, however, based on this, that only lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt.  The vast majority of heterosexual and male homosexual couples live their lives completely free from domestic violence, and this is the norm, not the abusive relationships.

    I’ll be honest with you: it’s difficult to take the site seriously as a source of information when it compares the length of homosexual *relationships* with the length of heterosexual *marriages*.  A moment’s rational thought would have made it clear to the ACP that the appropriate comparison would have been between homosexual relationships and *all* heterosexual relationships, not just marriages.  If they wanted to compare something with heterosexual marriages, then the appropriate comparison would have been with homosexual marriages (where it is legal) or Civil Partnerships, and ensuring that the sample was not skewed by major differences in wealth, cultural background etc.  

    It is worth considering in all cases that a study is only as good as its sample.  A study on domestic violence where the majority of subjects were recruited from a shelter for battered women is unlikely to be representative of the experience of the general population.

  • JabbaPapa

    In nature paedophilia and cannibalism are common

    Oh well, jolly good then I suppose, and carry on, eh ?

    What fine, upstanding moral principles you seem to have for yourself !!!

    Are you teaching them to any children ?

  • JabbaPapa

    BTW if you had actually read the link I gave you you might have not doubled down on your errors.

    And of course, in your mind — there is the fantasy that I was not aware of the nature of those objections ; and unaware that they have been rubbished as being biased and mendacious, provided as they were by pro-homosexualist lobbyists who were well aware that any lies they might come up with would be trumpeted around the internet by their friends, and by such anti-religious internet denizens as yourself.

    An online article in this very newspaper site was savagely attacked by the hysterical individual who seems to be in charge of having this evidence totally repressed and banished from the public forum.

    The appropriate, academic method for contesting the results of a study is NOT to engage in a vicious campaign of bigotry, hatred, and character assassination aimed against its principal author.

    So it’s not facts, not evidence and certainly isn’t science.

    Rubbish — but you are most certainly blinkered, indoctrinated, and fanatical in your views on this subject.

  • JabbaPapa

    … all studies show children do equally well  in stable same sex household

    Very simply, this is a lie.

    Propaganda and this sort of pro-homosexualist indoctrination that you are peddling are not constitutive of truth just on the say-so of the gay lobby.

  • Sweetjae

    I didnt say love is immoral, what im saying here is that love is NOT the only determining criteria for marriage, specially same sex marriage….or else, why not siblings marry each other if they both profess loving each other?Why not humans and their dogs? There are some people who are already advocating such twisted ideas that fall into an immoral abyss.

  • Sweetjae

    I didnt say marriage between elderly or infertile is inferior or marriage is a reqiurement for reproduction rather marriage must be based on Natural Law and Order that includes one of its characteristic which is the propagation of its species.

    Abortion is unnatural…mother killing her children.
    Embryonic stem cell is unnatural…..harvesting cells of other human beings then killed without consent.
    Marriage between Adult man and young man bellow 18 is unnatural.
    Marriage between Man and beast is also unnatural.

    Gay marriage is the same but im not surprised if the floodgates had been opened, anything is decadent is truly possible.

  • Megaera

    Thank you for clarifying, Sweetjae.

    Do you mean that you think that *some* love is moral and some immoral (or will always lead to immorality), or that some love is not really love?  My view would be that an emotion is an emotion, neither moral nor immoral until one acts upon it.  And that if one acts from a position of love, then one would do everything one could to support, protect and care for the person one loves, and that cannot be immoral.

    Humans can’t marry their pets because pets can’t give meaningful consent, and will never be able to give meaningful consent.  To marry in the UK, both partners have to be over 18 (or over 16 but have a parent or guardian’s consent) and legally capable of meaningful consent.  Bestiality is illegal in the UK, although it has been legal for a very long time in some of the more traditionally religious states of the US, which has always puzzled (and frankly horrified) me.  However, even in these states, it is not legal to marry an animal.
    Siblings can’t marry because of consanguinity laws, which also do not allow a person to marry any other close blood relative, such as a nephew or grandparent.  There are real health risks to any children of such unions, so it is highly unlikely to change.

    I don’t think that the slippery slope argument is a realistic one.  Giving women the vote in the UK did not lead to dogs getting the vote.  Nor did giving black people the vote in the US lead to animals voting.  Nor did permitting mixed-race marriages in the US lead to people marrying their dogs.  All of these were hotly debated issues in their time, and opponents justified their opposition with Biblical quotations and slippery slope arguments.  

    For many years, the Dutch Reform Church supported the apartheid movement in South Africa on religious grounds, and preached that God had created black people as inferior to white people, to be the natural servants of white people, and that permitting black people equality would be against God and Nature.  They only apologised for this stance in the mid-1980s.

    Ultimately, we all have to accept and acknowledge that marriage licenses are issued by the state, not by our Church.  Churches bless our unions and marry us in the sight of God, but they cannot issue a legal marriage certificate *unless* they are authorised to do so by the state.  For this reason, there are some people in England who have to have two marriage services – one marriage in a Register Office and one (equivalent of Holy Matrimony) in their church – because their religious leaders are not authorised to issue marriage certificates.  

    Marriage certificates are a legal document which lay out certain rights and responsibilities which we are legally obliged to adhere to, once we have signed them.  
    Holy Matrimony is a religious ceremony and blessing in the eyes of God. For most of us, this is the ‘real’ marriage, but, in itself, it carries no legal rights and obligations.  
    They are not the same thing, and it is possible to have one without the other.

    I think it is helpful to consider that, if I want religious freedom for myself, then I have to accept that other people also want religious freedom for themselves.  That may well mean that they want freedom from me imposing my religious beliefs upon them, just as I want freedom from Sharia Law or traditional Jewish Levitican law being imposed on me.  That being the case, as a religious person, my duty is to follow the rules and laws of my own religion, and permit others to do the same, either within their own religious traditions, or with no religion at all if that is their choice.  I have no right to impose my religious injunctions on them, any more than they have a right to impose their religious injunctions on me. If my religious belief said I should be in bed with the lights out by 8pm, then I must follow that rule, but those who do not hold my religious beliefs should get to stay up as late as they like without me grumbling about it. :)

  • Rizzo The Bear

    The gay pressure group, Stonewall, received part-funding from the Government. 

    Why are they such a special case? 

    It’s not fair.

  • Megaera

    I’m not sure that the natural/unnatural argument is a useful one here.

    Rabbit does re-absorb their unborn young when conditions are unfavourable, which is a form of abortion, so it is natural.

    Embryonic stem cell harvesting is unnatural, without a doubt.  But so is the computer I am typing on.

    Marriage between an adult man and a young man under 18 would be illegal, even if same-sex marriage was permitted in the UK, because young people under 18 cannot marry without the consent of a parent or guardian.  In my view, it’s certainly morally reprehensible and unwise, but I would say the same for a young woman under 18 marrying an older man.  It is not, however, unnatural: such attractions happen in both the human and the animal spheres. 

    Marriage between man and beast is illegal as the beast cannot give meaningful consent. Regrettably, it is not unnatural, as it happens in nature between people and animals, and also between animals of different species.  Some animals actually do rape those of other species.

    Genuine homosexual orientation is found in many, many species of animals and birds, including, but not restricted to, penguins, cattle, dolphins and dogs, so it is natural.  Homosexual animals and birds have no interest at all in the opposite sex, not even for reproductive purposes.  

    I think it is probably more helpful to speak in terms of what we find desirable and undesirable, moral (by our own religious standards) and immoral, than natural and unnatural.  But I think we must recognise that the opinions we hold about what is moral or not are personal moral and religious judgments we have made.  We need to live by our own religious and moral standards.  But we can’t necessarily control how other people live, or insist that they live according to our religion.  For actual crimes – behaviours which are imposed on one person by another without their consent – we have laws to protect us.  And we do need those laws, as well as laws which protect children and animals from abuse.  But in order for those laws to be just to citizens of all (and in some cases, no) religions, those laws *must* be evidence-based, and not based on our personal religious values.

  • 12Maria34

    This is a new phenomenon in the current western societies.   All data will have biases and also, depends
    on the receiver of the data as to what position one holds, just like you and
    I.  The best objective data is when these
    children will grow up and will start talking.  Then, we will hear their sides.  Even these will be subjective unless there is
    enough affirming data that will support the stories of these children as well
    as comparative studies on children with different family structures on coping
    mechanism of situations. As a lay person that is not involved in any studies,
    my test of objectivity is money, follow the money: who financed the research,
    who are these people who financed the research, who are they, in what
    businesses are they in, what are the vested interest of these groups and who is
    the person/teams involved in the research, what are biases of the team.  The objectivity of the data is not dependent
    on the organization who have the core beliefs.  Usually, I go to data who have more to lose
    than to gain.  Each institution be it
    private or non-profit have core beliefs. 
    This is the reason why each organization have mission and vision
    statements.  Again, there will still be
    biases in all studies as nobody is perfect but Truth will always prevail.  As my beloved Pope Leo XIII wrote on his
    encyclical (AETERNI PATRIS, 1879): 
    ” the
    restorer of human science is Christ, who is the power and the wisdom of
    God”.   St Thomas Aquinas: “We
    can’t have full knowledge all at once. 
    We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master
    the evidence for ourselves.”  I am
    Catholic.  This is my bias but as
    Catholic, I am encourage to seek the Truth even if it hurts but the Truth will
    always prevail as Truth is my God, my Creator & my Redeemer.

  • Megaera

    Thanks, Sweetjae.  I agree with you that love is not the only determining criterion.  After all, children cannot and (IMO) should not be permitted to marry as they are not capable of making a considered decision on such a commitment.

    I think my previous response answered the points you raised about the slippery slope and about morality as a value judgement. :)

  • Acleron

    That only two of the subjects out of two hundred and fifty are fit to be included in the study appears to be of no concern to you. That means that 99% of the subjects were incorrectly selected. 

    If, and I actually doubt it, you knew before and still accept this study has any credence then you are truly delusional.

  • Sweetjae

    Why not marriage between humans and their dogs, If they have a mutual loving relationship? Because of consent? I thought the argument is just about loving each other is good enough basis? Well the dog might not able to communicate objectively with humans but definitely by the dog’s loving actions back to the owner it conveys “consent” right? So why impede? In fact there is an organization today that already wanted to pursue that right in the Courts.

    Another thing, why descrimate against adult siblings marrying each other? Because of health risk? Of consanguinity laws? Well, if following your logic above then, the former is irrelevant because there are two consenting adults loving each other and don’t mine the health risk involved thus making the latter a discriminatory and unjust law which could be repealed.

    We based our arguments NOT just from Judeo-Christian beliefs but on Natural Law. Two negative signs cancel each other out.

  • JabbaPapa

    That only two of the subjects out of two hundred and fifty are fit to be
    included in the study appears to be of no concern to you

    That appears to be a mendacious accusation conjured up by a homosexualist lobbyist in his bid to trash the paper — the claim has been vigorously denied, in any case, by the authors of the study.

    The actual TRUTH of the matter is that the study has proposed some intriguing evidence and analysis, that will need to be addressed in future academic studies, by the authors themselves and by their peers, for verification or falsification purposes — this procedure is totally unlike your hysterical denial of that analysis on the basis of your deeply ingrained prejudice on the question.

    and I actually doubt it

    Your typical knee-jerk reaction to any presentation of facts or evidence that is contrary to your opinions is “la-la-la-la-la I can’t hear you” and variations thereof.

  • JabbaPapa

    But we can’t necessarily control how other people live, or insist that they live according to our religion

    The homosexualists and their allies are attempting to force a redefinition of all marriage to be defined by the nature of homosexual relationships.

    In many countries, they are attempting to go so far as to remove the definitions of “father” and “mother” from the Law — and some countries have already done so — which is a GROSS violation of the intrinsic biological, social, and legal rights of vast numbers of people and families.

    How, exactly, does this not constitute controlling how the vast majority of families must live in marriage on the basis of appeasing a tiny minority interest ?

  • Ronk

    So now the line has been finally drawn. It is niow impossible to be both a good Christian and a loyal citizen to the new regime of Britain dominated by a minority clique. All Britons are now being forced to choose one or the other.

  • Don Falcon

     Yes, the church definitely realizes it’s the 21st Century. Our blessed Pope John Paul 2 said that church doctrine cannot be influenced by popular opinion. So whether it’s the 21st century or the 1st, the mission of the church is not to make God acceptable to people, but to make people acceptable to God. So it’s good if people are turning away from the church because of the church’s supposed “medieval thinking”. Jesus allowed many of disciples to turn away from him because they couldn’t accept his teaching (John 6:66). God is love, but love does not rejoice in wrongdoing (1 Cor 13:6). The church does not rejoice in wrongdoing either. The church believes it is absolutely wrong to promote homosexual marriage because it believes that God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman. Giving babies to adoption for homosexual couples would therefore be a grave evil in the eyes of the church.

    We are called to make people acceptable to God, not God acceptable to people.

  • nytor

    Is a further appeal possible?

  • Megaera

    Hi Maria,

    Fortunately, we do already have some evidence as to how adoption is working out for high risk children.  This study was published last month: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1939-0025.2012.01176.x/abstract (scroll down to read the full study).  This study focuses only on relatively short-term outcomes for the adopted children, and I look forward to more long-term studies.  Of course, children have been raised by LGBT people throughout history, but we don’t have base-line data for how they started out, since it is only recently that it has become such a big political issue.  On the other hand, people like Zach Wahls seem to have turned out extremely well: smart, articulate and compassionate (that is the kind of data you suggested as good evidence, although I would prefer to see a broader, more inclusive and peer-reviewed study myself as it is possible – though unlikely – that he is an outlier).
    I do agree that following the money is important.  Decent scientists should produce genuine results, whoever is paying them to do the research, but it is not always the case.  There can be a temptation to falsify data when one is starting out in a career in science, in order to make one’s name, and pre-existing bias can strongly affect how a researcher interprets the data.  That is why we have a system of rigorous peer-review which, among other things, assesses the data-collection method, and ensures that the data actually does indicate what the researcher says it does. :)

    Mission and vision statements are perfectly reasonable.  My problem with the ACP is that they are doctors who are supposed to heal people based on their specialised knowledge of the science of their discipline.  If they refuse to accept the scientific evidence in their field, how can they effectively heal their patients?  To insist that their ‘core beliefs’ should trump all scientific evidence is, frankly, on a par with disbelieving Galileo when he proved that the earth revolved around the sun, not the sun around the earth.  However much a person holds a core belief is that the earth is the centre of the universe, it doesn’t make it so.  Holding a *core belief*  ‘that the traditional family unit, headed by a different-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children’ is not a mission statement; it is, objectively speaking, a prejudice, in that they have pre-judged the issue in the absence of any evidence that their belief is objectively accurate in real-world situations.  A scientific approach would be to hold that view as a hypothesis, and to test it thoroughly to see how well it holds up to scientific scrutiny.  It would be different if they simply said that this was their religious position, and made it clear that they would be treating patients on the basis of their religious values, not scientific values.  But they certainly should not pretend that their prejudices are just the same as accurate data. 

    I agree with you that Truth will always prevail in the end. :)

  • Megaera

    I have heard something about that organisation, but I don’t know enough about it to comment comprehensively.  As far as I am aware, it is an organisation in the USA based in one of the few states where bestiality is (incomprehensibly, to me) legal.  Bizarrely enough, these states are typically conservative and deeply religious: I really can’t think how that happened.  

    The USA is a very different political and legal entity to the UK, really, almost bizarrely alien considering how much we think we have in common.  In the USA, hate speech – such as saying that all priests/gays/non-religious should be killed – is perfectly legal.  In many states, rapists have paternity rights over the children they conceived by rape, meaning that they can continue to make their victim’s life a misery till the child attains majority, and be an influence in the child’s life.  It is certainly possible to bring this kind of court case there, which it would not be here, simply because bestiality is completely illegal.  You can’t argue that your dog joyfully consents without admitting to illegal behaviour.

    I imagine that the legal argument against siblings marrying is the potential health risk to any children they might have: children who are *not* consenting adults.  I would think that the law would be obliged to protect the children from unreasonable risk.  However, I am not a lawyer.  Perhaps somebody who is would care to comment on this issue?

    I understand that Natural Law is a philosophical system, and certainly, it is an attractive one.  But, like any philosophy, it is informed by the culture in which it developed, and so is not objective.  It is also not peer-reviewed scientific evidence.  Honestly, I believe that it is fine to make our own decisions on the most highly-subjective bases we want to use, but they should not be mistaken for objective judgments, and they should not be imposed on others who do not share our beliefs or philosophies.

    Faith is precisely that: it does not and should not require evidence in order for us to believe.  ‘Blessed are those who have *not* seen, and yet believe’.  But we also cannot impose the judgments of our own faith on those who do not share it, any more than we would want them to do the same to us.  Our right of freedom of religion is also a right to freedom *from* other people’s religions.

  • Megaera

    State marriage laws have always controlled who may and may not marry.  And those laws have changed over time.  In Imperial Rome and in the Middle Ages, girls could be married as young as 12.  In the US, up until the Loving vs Virginia case, it was illegal for people of different races to marry.  We could argue, I suppose, that changing these things was a redefinition of marriage.  I would argue that it doesn’t matter a jot who else is getting married: it won’t change my marriage a bit.  If I were not already married, this change would not prevent me from being able to get married.  

    My marriage is more than a legal contract on a piece of paper: a legal contract which, yes, can legally be altered for other people who will sign it after me by the body which issues the contract (the state).  The state contract (marriage certificate) is a great deal less important to me than my ongoing commitment to my partner of 21 years.  I signed that contract purely to gain the legal rights that pertain to the married state, which is (to me) the only good reason to sign it.  My religious marriage was meaningful to me: signing the state contract itself was not.  The important thing is to be married in the sight of God.  The state contract is only important for the legal protections it gives; it is religiously meaningless and subject to change at the whim of the State, so I think it is pointless to pin any religious significance onto it.  In this connection it is worth noting that not all religions in the UK are empowered to issue a (state) marriage license: in their case, people might well be married in the sight of their God but never actually sign a marriage contract unless they also have a Register Office ceremony.  In their own eyes and the eyes of their religion, they are no less married for not having a state contract.

    With regard to the issue you raise about altering ‘father’ and ‘mother’ in state documents to ‘parent’: again, these are simply legal documents issued by the state which describe the legal rights and responsibilities we agree to when we sign said document.  My children will still be my biological children.  They will still call me mummy.  My legal rights and responsibilities towards them remain unchanged, and would remain unchanged even if I was registering their births under a system which indicated ‘Parent A’ and ‘Parent B’.  The important thing is that they *are* my children to love, care for and support, and that I have the necessary legal authority to do so to the best of my ability in a legalistic world.  I honestly do not understand how that change is a violation, unless you see a birth certificate as in some way a religious document?

    ‘How, exactly, does this not constitute controlling how the vast majority of families must live in marriage on the basis of appeasing a tiny minority interest?’
    Changing terminology on a state legal contract will in no way control or change the way I live, in my marriage, in my parenting, or in any other part of my life.  Holy Matrimony is between the people who engage in it and God: it has absolutely nothing to do with the state.  A state marriage license is just a legal contract.  Whether people choose to sign a state marriage license or not, they will live their married lives in the ways that best suit them, regardless of a change in terminology on the contract.  

    To be honest I am surprised to see so very much confusion between Holy Matrimony and a state marriage license; between Baptism and a birth certificate; on a religious board.  Please understand I am not singling you out: I am just very surprised at how many people in this comment thread seem to conflate the religious with the profane.

  • JabbaPapa

    State marriage laws have always controlled who may and may not marry

    Absolute rubbish !!!

    “States” have only even existed since the 19th century — there is a difference between less than 150 years and “always”.

  • http://www.picsofcelebrities.net/blog/2012/05/08/voice-season-finale Cromulent

    “Whether that is a home with one man and one woman, a single man, a single woman or two men or two women, is immaterial.”

    Sorry, but Regnerus has already blown that fiction out of the water. Fail.

  • Megaera

    Umm… Do you mean the United States of America?  

    I apologise if I was not clear in my communication.  I can see how the confusion may have arisen, as I have also referred to states within the USA in several of my posts on this thread.

    In this particular case, I used the word ‘state’ intending to convey the following definition:
    State = an organized political community, living under a government.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State

    Ancient Greece had city-states.  The Roman Republic was a state, as was the Roman Empire.  Saul and David were monarchs of a kingdom state.  

    Current western marriage laws actually derive from pagan ancient Roman marriage laws.  Although, in ancient Rome, rather than just one type of marriage, there were three types of marriage – confarreatio, coemptio and usus – each of which carried different legal rights and responsibilities.  I hope this point clarifies my reasons for drawing such a sharp distinction between the state marriage contract and Holy Matrimony.

    On consideration, I agree that ‘always’ was an overstatement.  I should have said: ‘as far back as we can go in the historical record, state laws have controlled who may and who may not marry.’

  • Megaera

    Mark Regnerus said the following, in an interview with Focus on the Family, on 26 October 2012:-

    ‘I take pains in the study to say this is not about saying gay or lesbian parents are inherently bad. It is not a study about parenting or parenthood, or parenting practices. I didn’t measure parenting practices.’

    The full interview can be found here:- http://www.citizenlink.com/2012/10/26/friday-5-mark-regnerus/ 

  • http://www.picsofcelebrities.net/blog/2012/05/08/voice-season-finale Cromulent

    One of the things that Regnerus did measure was the likelihood of a same-sex relationship to stay intact during the parenting stage. Likelihood? Abysmal in the short term, and infinitesimally small in the long term.

    Don’t you prefer parenting couples who are going to provide a stable environment?