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Sunday 23rd October 2016

GP seeks gay adoption opt-out

6th February 2007

10072006_drswaitingroom1.jpgA Bedfordshire GP is asking the government to give doctors an ‘opt-out’ on gay adoption.

Dr John Lockley has asked Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to provide an avoidance clause for GPs similar to that in abortion legislation. Section 4 of the 1967 Abortion Act give doctors the right to refuse to be involved in an abortion if in doing so they would be forced to act against their own conscience or ethics.  If this is the case a doctor must ensure the patient is referred to another clinician.  Dr Lockley, an adviser to a non-religious adoption agency, says he wants the law to provide GPs with a similar opt-out clause if approached to recommend a gay couple for adoption.

Dr Lockley argues that current legislation means he could be stuck off if acting according to his conscience.  He says that under the Equality Act if, on the grounds of Christian conscience, a doctor refuses to provide a positive reference for a gay couple wanting to adopt he can be taken to court and even lose his job. He said, "I will be failing to comply with the Government's proposed Sexual Orientations Regulations if I object to a homosexual couple as potential adoptive parents.?

Most GPs are involved in the examination of potential adoptive parents and those who object to gay adoption on religious grounds will undoubtedly suffer a crisis of conscience over whether to be involved or not.  Dr Lockley said he had a "very good relationship" with gay patients on his list but if asked to provide detailed information about their suitability to bring up a child in a same-sex partnership, "on Christian conscience grounds" he would find it difficult.


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