So Blair has ruled out an opt-out for Catholic and other church adoption agencies of the requirement in the 2006 Equality Act to facilitate the adoption of children by homosexual couples, regardless of the dictates of their conscience. Instead he has opted for a period of delay. 'When in doubt temporise and hope the issue will be forgotten about' - this is Blair's default mode; always has been. And the 'devout' Catholic Ruth Kelly (why is she always described as 'devout' when she has made it pretty clear that her religious convictions will in no way inhibit her political actions?) is reported to have given Tony's 'compromise' her Imprimatur.
The whole row was completely unnecessary. Gay couples have been able to adopt legally since 2002. Agencies and local authorities exist in large numbers which will facilitate their desire to do so. Catholic agencies, if approached by them, will refer them on to non-Catholic agencies which will help them. Other EU countries have allowed agencies to opt out on conscience grounds.
So what's the problem? The problem is that if you try to enforce absolute equality, you do so, inevitably, at the expense of freedom. In the case of this Act we are talking about Freedom of Conscience and also Freedom of Association.
This 'family man', this 'pretty straight kinda guy', has contrived to let his ministers create in Britain (which still just about survives as an entity) the first piece of legislation which puts many conscientious Christians (and Jews and Muslims) at odds with the State since the 17th century. They are doing this by pursuing 'a l'outrance' policies which, 20 years ago, would have been universally and rightly derided as those of the 'Looney Left'.
We learn today in a poll that thousands of young British Muslim men want to live in a state governed not by British Law but by Sharia Law. This is deplorable but, given our propensity to pass laws of this kind, is it any wonder?
This decrepit Government no longer believes in freedom of conscience or of association. I seriously doubt if it believes in freedom at all.