If a civil unions bill becomes law this year in Colorado (and it looks likely that it will), the Archdiocese of Denver’s Catholic Charities has said that it will not place children available for adoption in families headed by same-sex couples. 9News.com reports the statements of two Catholic officials on the matter:
” ‘Our desire is to provide them [children] with a safe and stable environment,’ Tracy Murphy with Catholic Charities of Denver said.
“The debate begins when you examine what the Catholic church means by that.
” ‘The Catholic church understands the best foundation for a child’s life is to be in the home of a father and a mother that is going to raise them in a family environment that is a strong, healthy marriage,’ said Monsignor Tom Fryar, who serves as pastor for the Denver Cathedral.
“By dictionary definition, the church does discriminate when it comes to adoptions– not just against gays but also against single people.
“They only let married couples adopt. Even if the laws change, the church won’t.
” ‘We cannot,’ Fryar said. ‘It goes against our faith.’ “
Catholics who oppose the civil unions law are trying to get a “conscience clause, which is explained by 9News.com’s report:
“Last year’s bill contained the words: ‘This article shall not be interpreted to require a child placement agency to place a child for adoption with a couple that has entered into a civil union.’
“Supporters of civil unions begrudgingly included the clause last year, hoping it would help get the bill through the GOP-controlled House. Now that Democrats are in control, they are less inclined to accommodate religious organizations who opposed civil unions when the bill did have the clause.”
Putting the politics aside, it is amazing that Msgr. Fryar would say that adoption policy “goes against our faith.” This is not a faith issue. Our faith does not say anything about what an ideal family would be for a particular child. One need only look at Scripture, Catholic history, and the lives of the saints to know that there are many models of families and forms of childcare other than relying on a heterosexual standard. Furthermore, the children and the parents involved may not necessarily be Catholic.
A Colorado lawmaker commented on the adoption controversy by making reference to segregation laws:
” ‘It sounds like, “we have our water fountains, and there are other water fountains for you,” ‘ Sen. Jessie Ulibarri (D-Commerce City) said.”
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry