Adoption is a legal process employed throughout the country through the nation's family law courts to place children with non-biological parents. While there is no given right to adopt, couples and individuals alike are able to gain custody of a child through adoption, gaining full parental rights over that child in doing so.
One organization in the Denver area has vowed to place a limitation on those who can adopt using the organization's services. Catholic Charities has declared that it cannot serve gay couples, a position that may take the organization out of the adoption business entirely should an upcoming bill allowing civil unions pass into law.
The bill is an attempt to grant a new level of legal status to gay couples in the state through the establishment of civil unions. A bill that lawmakers attempted to pass last year included a conscience clause in its wording. This clause would have exempted organizations that had a conflict of conscience with placing children with gay couples from being forced to do so under Colorado's equal rights laws. The new legislation does not contain any such conscience clause.
According to a Catholic Church spokesperson, the lack of a conscience clause may cause Catholic Charities to shut down its adoption efforts. In 2012, the organization was responsible for around 40 of the 524 adoptions in the area. The church spokesperson claims that placing a child with a same-sex couple would be against the faith of the church. Those opposed to the conscience clause compare it to the legalized discrimination found under archaic Jim Crow laws.
Individuals living in the Denver area already have a right to pursue adoption without being discriminated against. Those looking to adopt are fully protected by the state's existing equal rights laws and can seek legal recourse in the courts if they feel that discrimination has occurred.
Source: 9News, "Catholic adoption agencies vow not to serve gay couples," Brandon Rittiman, Jan. 25, 2013
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