After section 9

Part of Adoption and Children (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:30 am on 7th December 2006.

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Photo of Susan Deacon Susan Deacon Labour 10:30 am, 7th December 2006

In the discussion on an earlier amendment from my colleague Paul Martin, we were told how important it was that we set the right tone in legislation and that we send out the right messages. That is true, and we should think about that carefully when we vote on amendment 86 and as the day progresses. In all the earlier discussions at stages 1 and 2, we united around the clear message that what mattered was Scotland's children and that what was best for them would be at the heart of our consideration of the bill.

In the light of earlier debates and decisions, we are in danger of sending out a message that, rather than acting in the best interests of all Scotland's children and considering all the evidence and the measured discussions that there have been over many years, at the last minute we are willing to bow to just one voice, one view and one constituency of opinion. That is the wrong message to send out, and we should remind ourselves what the bill is about.

Faith-based adoption agencies are terribly important, which is why the Education Committee considered the matter carefully and why ministers have given firm assurances. That is the right way to deal with the matter. I urge colleagues to reject amendment 86.