After section 9

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

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael McMahon Michael McMahon Labour 10:30 am, 7th December 2006

I will press amendment 86.

It has been made clear to me that faith-based adoption agencies want to operate within the provisions of the bill, but they fear that they will not be able to do so unless they are given the legislative protection that they need. Despite the minister's assurances, they are not reassured that that will be the case.

As Elaine Murray and other members have said, the agencies currently refer people on, and they have been advised that they can continue to do so. If they are referring people, they cannot be being discriminatory, therefore all the arguments about inclusion of the provision in the bill being discriminatory cannot be justified. There is no logic in such an argument. Indeed, the Scotland Act 1998 seeks to protect religious beliefs and compels us to ensure that that is done. Protecting faith-based agencies is not pandering to discrimination and prejudice, but not protecting them could result in prejudicial action being taken against a religious group.