While many Coloradans praised the passage of civil unions Tuesday, some religious adoption agencies began wondering how the new legislation would affect their religious beliefs — and their legal ability to follow them.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver expressed Tuesday “disappointment” in Colorado’s Legislature, stating that if signed into law, the bill “may threaten the policies which guide us in the vital work to find families for Colorado’s children in need.”
The bill providing protections for gay couples does not provide exceptions to religious institutions wishing to withhold adoptions based on sexual preference, a decision that House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, said would be “discriminatory.” Ferrandino sponsored the bill and is caring for a foster daughter with his longtime partner in hopes of adopting her — one of more than 650 children currently seeking homes in the state’s foster system.
“There are hundreds of LGBT couples who want to raise kids, and these kids who are in the foster system have for some reason been taken away from their biological parents for abuse or neglect,” he said. “What they need more than anything is a family who loves them and wants to raise them. We should not deny them the opportunity to have two loving parents, be they two women, two men, or a man and a woman.”
The Rev. Samuel J. Aqulia, archbishop of Denver, released a statement Tuesday refuting Ferrandino’s stance on religious exemptions, adding that while the Catholic Church “recognizes and affirms the dignity of every human person,” it does not view all relationships as equal.