Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Parent Trap

Searching the internet for interesting perspectives on the gay adoptions row, I came across a statement by MEP Michael Cashman, who used to be an actor in Eastenders. He played Colin, the only real gay character ever to be in the show and by that I mean his choice of a gay partner was intentional and not just because there was no one left in the street of the opposite sex that he hadn’t already slept with. Gay characters since have all been accidentally gay and have usually become aware of their sexuality after drinking too many tequila slammers and finding themselves in the wrong toilet in The Vic, where most intercourse seems to take place.

There are actually a lot of gay people in the real East End. There are also some Asian people and black people who don’t have comic Jamaican accents and one or two people who own their own washing machine. When he was a character in Eastenders, Michael Cashman didn’t actually do much to raise awareness of gay issues except to highlight a worryingly obsessive attachment to one’s Filofax. After he’d left the show, he became a founder member of Stonewall, the group that campaigns to end discrimination against people who can’t manage without personal organisers.

MEP Cashman (not to be confused with cash for honours), has hit out at the Government for trying to create a sneaky little loophole in its anti-discrimination laws which allows their powerful Catholic friends to continue to call gay people evil and stop them from giving homes to orphan children. The Government is making out that this is a very complex issue but, actually, it is quite simple. The Government already thinks that no one in this country is a decent parent so why complicate everything with degrees of inadequacy. Perhaps they think it is good for children to grow up believing that no one ever wanted them and then reach adulthood to find out they could have been living on the South Bank in a massive apartment with a 102 inch plasma TV and spent all weekend clothes shopping.

Catholic Online is a bit like the Monty Python News for Parrots sketch in that it only reports on news that has Catholics in it. For example a section on the Iraq war reports a shortage of rosary beads for soldiers and that a chaplain was slightly wounded and there are advertisements for Vatican – the Board Game where you can get yourself elected Pope. The current edition also carries the full text of a letter from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor to government ministers sent yesterday. Calling for ‘fair play’ the Cardinal gave a perfectly reasonable explanation for why the Catholic church should be entitled to impose a fantasy inspired by The Bells of St Mary’s as a template for ‘family’ on a secular government service.

We require our agencies to recruit and approve appropriate married and single people to meet the needs of children in local authority care for whom adoption has been identified as being in their best interest. We place significant emphasis on marriage, as it is from the personal union of a man and a woman that new life is born and it is within the loving context of such a relationship that a child can be welcomed and nurtured. Marital love involves an essential complementarity of male and female.

Yes, well. I suppose you could be forgiven for wondering how we ended up with all these unwanted children in the first place if they sprang from the loins of essential ‘complementarity’. I honestly don’t know why Government spends so much time making up rules as, by the time all the possible exemptions have been negotiated, there are only about three people left in the country to abide by them and they immediately start working on their appeal as soon as the rule is announced.

There may be some flexibility in all this so maybe we shouldn’t get our vestments in too much of a tangle. If it should be the case that the Catholic lobby wins the day and there are actually gay people masochistic enough to choose to approach a Catholic adoption agency, I think I may have found a loophole. Simply approach the agency as a single person. As I understand it, the Cardinal is only asking to be allowed to discriminate against gay couples. Get your child first and then find a partner. They’re not so smart as they think they are these Cardinals. I’m off now to see if I’ve been elected Pope or if the smoke coming from the kitchen is just my dinner burning…

Cardinal Cartman from


Pope Groucho said...

Those are my principles and, if you don't like them, I have others.

MrZhisou said...

Excellent post. The emphasis should be on a stable loving home, not one where sex is performed in a particular way.

Although I do agree with the PM that it is a bit more complex than you suggest.

The Church does have a right to stick to its beliefs and no one has to go to a Catholic adoption agency, there are alternatives.

City Slicker said...

Great post! Your writing just goes from strength to strength!

kris said...

I'd hate to be rude about the Catholic Church, but surely with their little issue of pervasive, priesthood, paedophilia, they really aren't in a strong position to say that kids are better off in THEIR care rather than with gay parents.

That's so pants said...

Greettings Pope Groucho - congrats on the promotion. My absolution had better be in the post.

Hi Mr Zhisou - Yes, I was a tad facetious about our PM - I will go to confession immediately.

CS - Thank you!

Hi Kris - Good point - a question of turning the other cheek perhaps?