イギリスでは──正確にはイングランド、ウェールズ、スコットランドでは、2007年に反差別法(anti-discrimination laws)が制定され、同性愛者に対する差別が全面的に禁止、違法となった。

その中で、差別禁止法(平等法、Equality Act)に対して例外的に21ヶ月間の執行猶予を与えられたのが、ローマ・カトリック系の養子斡旋機関だった。そして今年の1月で21ヶ月の猶予が過ぎることになり、11の養子斡旋機関のうち、約半数の5の機関が法律に従いゲイ・カップルへの養子を認めることになった。

Agencies obey gay adoption rules [BBC NEWS]

Mike Judge from the Christian Institute said agencies were being forced to turn their back on their faith.

He told BBC Radio Five Live that so many agencies were abiding by the legislation showed "how aggressive" the law had been towards faith-based adoption agencies.

"I think it's iconic of a situation where you've got a clash between sexual orientation rights and religious rights where in almost every circumstance I've been aware of, religious rights have been seen to play second fiddle."

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, warned the services of the 11 Catholic adoption agencies - which specialise in difficult to place children - would be "tragically lost to the country".

Catholic Caring Services - one of the agencies which has decided to comply with the regulations - has been disowned by the Bishop of Lancaster Patrick O'Donoghue, a fierce opponent of the new laws.

He has said the Preston-based charity would no longer be able to promote the Church's "moral teaching that a marital setting is better for children rather than being placed with a same-sex couple".