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The social services agency of the archdiocese of Boston has allowed 13 foster children to be adopted by gay couples in the past two decades, despite Vatican teachings against homosexuality. Leaders of Catholic Charities of Boston said state regulations prohibit the agency from discriminating based on sexual orientation. "If we could design the system ourselves, we would not participate in adoptions to gay couples, but we can't," the Reverend J. Bryan Hehir, the agency's president, told The Boston Globe. "We have to balance various goods." The 13 adoptions--a small fraction of the 720 placed by Catholic Charities in that period--took place as part of a contract with the state Department of Social Services. The children placed with gay couples are among the most difficult to place, either because they are older or have physical or emotional problems. Hehir said that if they excluded gay couples, they wouldn't be able to help the hundreds of foster children that went to heterosexual couples. Hehir's viewpoint is not shared by all at Catholic Charities, however. Peter Meade, who is chairman of the board, told the Globe that the agency should be accepting gay couples who are willing to take in needy children. "What we do is facilitate adoptions to loving couples," Meade said. "I see no evidence that any child is being harmed."
Catholic Charities signed its state adoption contract with the state in 1987. Since then, the 13 adoptions have taken place, with the last one occurring this year. The Catholic Church views homosexuality as immoral. The archdiocese of Boston has been politically active in support of a proposed state constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.
C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, a conservative Catholic organization, said, "No religious organization ought to be forced to compromise its principle as a condition of its social services." (AP)