Tony Blair has ruled out any exemptions for religious adoption agencies from the new sexual orientation regulations but indicated they would be allowed until the end of 2008 before they had to comply with the law.
In a statement issued today Mr Blair said he had “heard from representatives of gay rights groups and the leaders of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches as well as Jack McConnell, who has been making sure the Scottish perspective is heard in these discussions. ”
The Prime Minister said he started “from a very firm foundation: there is no place in our society for discrimination. That is why I support the right of gay couples to apply to adopt like any other couple.”
Mr Blair said this meant “there can be no exemptions for faith-based adoption agencies offering publicly-funded services from regulations which prevent discrimination.”
During the transition period before the regulations come fully into force existing adoption agencies will be under a “statutory duty” to refer applications from same sex couples to another agency.