Aug302014
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DignityUSA and Dignity/Boston Decry Decision on Adoption

Contact Information: 

Debra Weill, DignityUSA
202-861-0017
executivedirector@dignityusa.org

Boston, MA and Washington DC—The leaders of Dignity/Boston and DignityUSA, groups representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics and allies, spoke out against pressure brought by Catholic leaders forcing an end to the involvement of Catholic Charities of Boston in adoption.

Despite a unanimous vote of Catholic Charities’ 42-member board in December 2005 to continue considering same-gender couples and gay and lesbian single persons as adoptive parents, that decision has now been reversed.  Catholic Charities of Boston announced in a statement to the press, “we have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve,” regarding their wish to continue adoption work under a contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts versus the insistence of local church leaders and Vatican officials that gay and lesbian parents not be considered.  Massachusetts has a non-discrimination law governing state-funded services.

“In all of this pressure and posturing, the real losers are the children who will now likely have to wait longer for adoption,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Dignity/Boston spokesperson.  “Catholic Charities did the right thing for years for children in need of stable, loving homes  -- they considered different family configurations for their challenging cases.  Now, Catholic Charities is being forced out of adoption work altogether by church leaders who cannot tolerate any recognition of same sex partnerships or gay or lesbian people raising children.”  Duddy-Burke and her spouse Becky are adoptive parents of a daughter.  They worked with the state Department of Social Services on their adoption.

Local events may also be spurring action around the country .  Currently, the Archdiocese of San Francisco and numerous other dioceses are  reviewing their policies on adoption and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has filed proposed legislation that would exempt Catholic Charities from the Massachusetts non-discrimination law.

“Church leaders seem to be working over-time trying to demonize us, to expunge any positive image society holds of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people,” commented Debbie Weill, executive director of DignityUSA.  “From Archbishop Levada telling gay priests last month in Rome that they must stay closeted to this attack on gay and lesbian parents who have provided homes for children with special needs, the campaign is on.  Church leaders are becoming increasingly isolated in their hostile and inaccurate views.  But our families, friends and co-workers know the truth - they have celebrated the civil marriages of Catholic gay and lesbian couples in Massachusetts and domestic partnerships in other states, they see our family lives first hand and know our faith and our contributions to our communities.”

Dignity/Boston is a progressive and inclusive community of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, our families, friends and supporters. The community gathers for liturgy every Sunday at the Church of St. John the Evangelist on Beacon Hill in Boston. Dignity/Boston is approaching its 35th year of service to the community and witness to the Catholic Church. For more information, please visit www.dignityboston.org

DignityUSA is the foremost organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, their families, friends and supporters. Founded in 1969, it is an independent nonprofit organization with members and Chapters across the country. DignityUSA works for full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the life of the Church and Society. www.dignityusa.org