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One more black eye for the Jesus Lobby

See what happens when you stand in the way of progress...but haven't got a leg, either of law or logic, to stand on?

A DEVOUT Christian who resigned as a family magistrate over the Government's refusal to allow him to opt out of cases in which gay couples adopt children has had his human rights challenge dismissed.

Andrew McClintock sat on the family panel of Sheffield Magistrates Court for 20 years before recent legislation enshrining the right of same-sex couples to adopt.

The 63-year-old went to court over the Lord Chancellor's refusal to allow him to continue in his role on the family panel, whilst "opting out" of cases involving same-sex adoptions.

He claimed the refusal discriminated against him for his Christian beliefs and said there was also a risk to any children involved because there was little research about the potential effects of such actions.

Today, after already lossing his case before an Employment Tribunal, and again before an Employment Appeal Tribunal, his legal campaign hit the buffers at London's Appeal Court.

Lord Justice Mummery said Mr McClintock's challenge was not a case of pure religious discrimination as was claimed. Although he had religious objections to the new family policy, his concerns focused on the alleged lack of research into the effects on children of gay adoptions.

Aha, there's the rub: there is, in fact, no shortage of research into the effects of gay adoption on children. The problem is, this ever-growing heap of research overwhelmingly points to the fact that gays are just as good at parenting as straights. And furthermore, that children adopted by same-sex parents don't turn out any worse than children adopted by conventional straight couples. There is also evidence showing that there's a crying need for adoptive families, and that straights, by implication, aren't stepping up to the plate--this, as their gay counterparts who want to adopt are being debarred though their parenting capabilities are no longer in question. Even the "they'll be tormented by peers because they have two moms/dads" argument doesn't wash because the more commonplace gay couples are seen to be, the more accepted they will be--yes, even as parents. And by logical extension, the homophobic bullies will be more isolated and ridiculed for their intolerance--and more visible for who they are. So any attempt to play the anti-gay-adoption card (including this cheap, literal attempt) will just end up backfiring on the player.

Long story made short: the only thing gay parents can't do that straight parents can, is conceive their children the old-fashioned way. And an awful lot of gay parents have still managed to do that--by living in the closet for waaaaaay too long. Volumes of research have also been written about the psychological ramifications of that--as have a number of comedies.

Personally, I find the "religious persecution" argument hysterical. There was a time when the Christians could claim it legitimately, but it was 2000 years ago, and Roman emperors were throwing them to lions for the sheer hell of it. Nowadays, apparently, it's enough just to find yourself suddenly and inexplicably contradicted by science, logic and all that other inconvenient cal. No more lions necessary. Even better, before anyone charges you with religious persecution (be it the Muslims, the Jews, the Witches, the atheists or the homo-sex-you-alls), why not just pre-empt them by claiming they're the ones doing it to the Christians?

And in other news today: Earth found to be spherical, rotating upon an axis, and revolving around the Sun! Sky falls for creationists! Ship of Fools falls off edge of planet! Film at 11!