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bishops fight adoption by gays and lesbians

bishops fight adoption by gays and lesbians

Massachusetts's four Roman Catholic bishops want Catholic social service agencies exempted from state law that requires them to place some adoptive children in gay households. The request has been in the planning stages for some time, but the bishops met earlier this week to come to a final agreement, said Ed Saunders, executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the church's public policy arm.

The Vatican has come out against adoption of children by same-sex couples, and the archbishop of Boston, as well as the bishops of Fall River, Worcester, and Springfield, say the state's antidiscrimination laws are a violation of religious freedom. "We are asking the commonwealth to respect constitutional guarantee of religious freedom and allow the Catholic Church to continue serving children in need of adoption without violating the tenets of our faith," the bishops said in a joint statement issued Tuesday.

Saunders would not discuss possible strategies for getting Catholic agencies exempted from the law, but it could involve legislative or legal action. Gov. Mitt Romney cannot by executive order waive antidiscrimination laws, but "Governor Romney respects and honors the free practice of religion, and he looks forward to meeting with representatives of the Catholic Church to discuss this issue," spokeswoman Julie Teer said Tuesday night.

State representative Eugene O'Flaherty, house chairman of the joint committee on the judiciary, has said there would be little support among lawmakers for an exemption. Catholic Charities, the social service arm of the Boston archdiocese, has in the past two decades allowed a small percentage of the total number of children it has placed to be adopted into homes with gay parents. (AP)

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