There will be no opt-out for Catholic adoption agencies on regulations outlawing discrimination against gay people, prime minister Tony Blair said yesterday.
He said that agencies would have until 2008 to comply with anti-discrimination regulations, which come into force in April.
During the interim, they would face a statutory duty to refer gay couples to agencies which would take them.
In a statement yesterday, Blair said: “There can be no exemptions for faith-based adoption agencies offering publicly-funded services from regulations which prevent discrimination”.
But he said the transition period was in the interests of children, given the need to retain the expertise of Catholic agencies.
Adoption leaders have welcomed the compromise.
British Association for Adoption and Fostering chief executive David Holmes said: “We believe this package should lead to a sensible solution. We look forward to hearing the detail and offering any assistance we can.”