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The State Government of Victoria, Australia is under fire from the Catholic Church in Melbourne.
The Labour government has scheduled a reform that would allow same-sex couples access to adoption services. But Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne is calling it a "fundamental attack on religious freedom," along with a violation of fundamental human rights.
Archbishop Hart is especially concerned with the decision due to the fact that there is no exception for faith-based adoption agencies, i.e., all agencies must give full access to same-sex adoptions.
During his statement, Abp. Hart used unusually harsh language to describe Victorian Equality Minister, Martin Foley, stating that he is not valuing freedom of religion and "relying on an argument that backs individuals over organizations."
He further claimed that if a Catholic worker at CatholicCare, one of the adoption agencies, was to refuse to assist in a same-sex couple's adoption process, then they would "feel the full weight of the law."
Minister Foley confirmed his support for the bill, claiming that adoption agencies Anglicare and Uniting Care are supporting the legislation, and he is "proud we're removing discrimination from the Adoption Act [of 2010]."
With only 89 adoptions last year in New South Wales out of 43,000 children in care, many critics are angry with Abp. Hart for condemning the amendment. Foley has simply replied to the archbishop with: "Equality is not negotiable."
In 2007, Britain passed a similar law, making sure religious groups couldn't "discriminate" against same-sex couples, forcing many religous agencies to close their doors or cut ties with their church. One could argue that the real motive is for the government to have complete control over its population because the low numbers of adoptions per year should indicate that Foley needs all the support he can get in increasing adoptions rather than decreasing them.
If the true purpose of adoption is meant to be about "forming new families," then why would the government want to decrease the chances of one actually occuring? Equality or not, the child must come first, and when considering an adoption, the adoptive parent must ask himself: Why am I adopting the child? For my self-satisfaction or because I desire the child to have a good life?
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