In any given year, tragedy, family dysfunction, poverty, neglect, and abuse separate hundreds of thousands of children from their birth parents.
Where adoption cannot be arranged, many of these children find themselves moved from one foster family to another. Finding a permanent home for abused, handicapped, or troubled children is especially hard. In such cases, objections are rarely raised when prospective adoptive parents happen to be gays or lesbians. Whatever one’s views about the morality of homosexuality, it is hard to understand how an orphaned or abandoned child does not benefit from being placed in a loving home.
Unfortunately, the official policy of the Catholic Church now appears to be that such adoptions cannot benefit children and are in every instance gravely immoral. This exceptionless stance has forced Catholic Charities of Boston to announce that it will stop providing adoption services altogether rather than comply with the state’s antidiscrimination laws.
According to Massachusetts law, Catholic Charities cannot discriminate against adoptive parents on the basis of sexual orientation. Historically, the agency has in fact placed a small number of children-13 out of 720 adoptions over the last twenty years-with gay couples. After this practice was made public, the state’s four bishops decided, evidently under pressure from Rome, that such placements were impermissible. Efforts...