By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

MANCHESTER, England, June 6, 2008 ( – The Catholic Children’s Rescue Service, in the Diocese of Salford, has become the first Catholic adoption agency in the country to stop finding new homes for children because of the Government’s new homosexual equality laws.

The agency, in continual operation since 1886, was closely linked with the diocese and supported in its work by funds collected in the local parishes.

The Equality Act, which comes into effect on New Year’s Day, forbids discrimination in the provision of goods and services on the basis of sexual orientation. The law was forced through Parliament last year despite past Prime Minister Tony Blair’s recommendation that Catholic adoption agencies be exempted from the rules.

Kathy Batt, the CCRS’s director, said they will close their doors rather than abandon the religious principles of the Catholic Church and their own guiding principle of the good of the child.

“The decision has been taken with regret by the trustees who have been fully informed all the way along,” she said.

“We did not want to separate from the diocese as other agencies have, though that is no criticism of them.”

The agency will now merge with other local Catholic welfare organizations to provide foster homes for children, homeless shelters, and support for parents of adopted children, but will no longer recruit, assess or approve couples who want to adopt children.

Jim Dobbin, a Catholic Labour MP in Manchester, said in a Telegraph newspaper report: “It is a tragedy. There is a shortage of people willing to adopt generally in the country and there is something very wrong when some of the better and more efficient agencies feel they have to close because they can’t conform to what the Government is demanding.”

“I don’t think there was any need for this legislation at all. It was forced through and was all done to avoid discrimination but all it has done is to introduce discrimination against agencies that operate according to the principles of a religious faith.”

“The Government will rue the day when it pursued this line of action. It smacks of a secular attack on the Catholic Church.”

Read related coverage:

More British Catholic Adoption Agencies to Close Doors instead of Bowing to Sexual Orientation Regulations

Catholic Adoption Agency Will Close Before Giving Children to Homosexual Parents, Bishop States

UK Catholic Church Agency to Cease Adoption Work As Government Forces Homosexual Adoption