Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A point too far

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's response to the government's refusal to exempt Catholic adoption agencies from new gay rights laws manages to do what the government has failed to do i.e. to draw a distinction between homophobia and the establishment of new norms:

'....what is happening with the imposition of the regulations is that a proper desire to remove hurtful homophobia and permit adoption by same-sex couples becomes the establishment of norms that everyone must accept. The imposition of such anti-discrimination legislation becomes the creation of new rules of normality, which, in this case, simply push the point too far. '
Since coming to power in 1997, the Labour government has passed 114,000 pages of legislation, creating over 3,000 new offences. Will it now be an offence for an individual to hold the view that the word 'parents' means a mother and a father? This is not a straightforward anti-discrimination law; it seeks to change the definition of parenthood. It is not a law to protect the rights of a minority group but to create new rights for that group; rights that will become unassailable once granted. It is not a law to protect the rights or to serve the best interests of children.
We have seen many changes in attitudes towards homosexuality in recent years, and rightly so; but hearts and minds are changed by understanding and co-operation, not by legislation. As the Cardinal says, this legislation pushes the point too far.

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