First we had the clash with Catholic Adoption Agencies, backed by other churches, over having to give equal rights to gay couples seeking to adopt a child. And now, we have the interesting case of Mr Andrew McClintock. Basically Mr McClintock was a magistrate in Sheffield’s family court until the introduction of the civil partnership laws put him into a difficult position. He can’t live with the implications of the new laws.
According to reports in the Daily Mail. Mr McClintock is claiming that:-
“…the new civil partnership laws led to a situation where he could have inadvertently sanctioned the removal of a child from its natural family to be placed in the care of a gay couple.
Mr McClintock said that contradicts both his personal religious beliefs and his duty as a magistrate to put the child’s welfare first.”
The article goes on:-
“He said his request to be excluded from such cases was refused and he believed he had no option but to resign from those responsibilities.
Last year Mr McClintock, a former manager in the steel industry and now a self-employed consultant on logistics, said it thought it was wrong for the government to use children who are already disadvantaged as “guinea pigs”.
He said placing them with gay couples was an “experiment in social science”.”
The BBC is also reporting:-
Ahead of Mr McClintock’s appeal hearing …. , BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said the former magistrate’s stance is being reflected by others. Our correspondent said: “Mr McClintock is one of a growing number of traditionalist Christians in public service who claim that laws giving equal rights to gay people are preventing them from behaving in accordance with their religious beliefs.”
Obviously, we have a really difficult problem here. We have kids who need good homes and we have good people who want to provide those homes. We have good people within the judicial system who want to do good things, especially for the young people they have to deal with. Their picture of the “best” care for the children before them does not match with what the law allows.
This is one of those situations where the losers are the people we want to win – the kids.
I just wonder what the general population in Northern Ireland makes of this debate?