Nor­wood gives green light to gay adop­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - HOME NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

GAY COU­PLES will be able to adopt Jewish chil­dren as a re­sult of new anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws, Nor­wood, the Jewish fam­ily char­ity, con­firmed this week.

Both the Church of Eng­land and the Ro­man Catholic Church are press­ing for ex­emp­tion for their adop­tion agen­cies from the new Sex­ual Ori­en­ta­tion Reg­u­la­tions, due to come into ef­fect in April. The new laws will make it il­le­gal to deny goods and ser­vices to peo­ple be­cause they are ho­mo­sex­ual.

But Norma Brier, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Nor­wood, said this week that Nor­wood is “not con­sid­er­ing an ex­emp­tion”.

The char­ity is in­volved in plac­ing chil­dren for adop­tion na­tion­ally as well as within the Jewish com­mu­nity.

“The needs of the child seek­ing adop­tion is our pri­mary con­cern and we would con­sider ap­pli­cants from any part of the Jewish com­mu­nity,” Ms Brier said. “This in­cludes cou­ples and sin­gle peo­ple who are suit­able to adopt, and who meet the needs of the variety of chil­dren who re­quire sub­sti­tute care from across the com­mu­nity.

“Nor­wood’s adop­tion panel is an in­de­pen­dent body which makes de­ci­sions based on the needs of the child and suit­abil­ity of the par­ents. We also take into con­sid­er­a­tion the con­cerns ex­pressed by a child’s birth fam­ily.”

Un­der the new anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws, re­li­gious groups will be ex­empt in some ar­eas.

A spokes­woman for the De­part­ment for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment said this week that the gov­ern­ment “fully recog­nises the value of gay and les­bian par­ents”. But she added: “The de­bate around bet­ter pro­tec­tion on the ba­sis of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion has been be­set by wild spec­u­la­tion on all sides.

“No de­ci­sions have been taken on the con­tent and it is pre­ma­ture to spec­u­late on the reg­u­la­tions when we are still hear­ing strong views on all sides of the de­bate.”

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