After section 9

Part of Adoption and Children (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:15 am on 7th December 2006.

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Photo of Elaine Murray Elaine Murray Labour 10:15 am, 7th December 2006

During the Education Committee's consideration of the bill, we heard evidence from the faith-based agencies and we considered the issue of their not being forced to do things that would be against their conscience. It is important that they are protected and not forced to do anything that is against their conscience and their ethos, but the minister assured us at stages 1 and 2 that nothing in the bill will change the current situation and that the matter could be dealt with in guidance.

I have some concerns about that, and I am also concerned that amendment 86 does not say anything about people's right to exercise their conscience. It states only that adoption agencies must refer people on. I have some anxiety about the wording of the bill, and I would like to hear a little more about the effect that the amendment would have on the faith-based agencies. Could the matter be dealt with less controversially in guidance?