Catholic Charities to End Adoption Services in Boston

After two decades of placing children in state custody with adoptive parents, the Boston affiliate of Catholic Charities has decided not to renew its contract with the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, the Boston Herald reports.

The move comes on the heels of actions by the state's four Roman Catholic bishops to stop the charity from placing children up for adoption with same-sex couples. Earlier this month, the bishops asked the state for an exemption from its anti-discrimination law, arguing that it violates Catholics' constitutional right to religious freedom by compelling the church to do something it considers "gravely immoral." The bishops' action prompted eight of the charity's board members to resign. In a joint statement, the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir and Jeffrey Kaneb, the organization's president and board chair, respectively, said, "We have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve....Catholic Charities finds that it cannot reconcile the teaching of the church, which guides our work, and the statutes and regulations of the commonwealth."

Last year, the charity facilitated the adoption of forty-one children, making it one of Massachusetts' top-five adoption agencies. Over the past twenty years, 13 of the 720 children adopted through Catholic Charities have gone to same-sex couples.

"I think it's absolutely immoral for the bishops to have sacrificed these children's lives and stability for dogma," said Marianne Duddy-Burke, an adoptive mother and spokeswoman for the lesbian and gay Catholic group Dignity Boston. "Caring for vulnerable people is so much the core of what Catholic Charities does....I can only imagine what pressure the bishops brought to bear on the board."