We’ve had religious zealotry turning up in art galleries, registry offices, Stormont, counselling organisations – now we can add paediatric medicine to the list of areas of work which Christian fundamentalists seem desperate to colonise:
Sheila Matthews, who sat on an adoption panel in Northamptonshire, lost the job when she asked to abstain from voting in cases where same-sex couples were planning to adopt.
Now she has been reinstated, although Northamptonshire County Council will not allow Dr Matthews to vote on future cases.
Dr Matthews, 50, is a community paediatrician with more than 18 years’ experience advising parents and children. She had worked on the adoption panel for five years, before she was removed earlier this month.
Dr Matthews said: “As a professional I have done a lot of reading around the subject and am satisfied that there are research findings which support my position that a same-sex partnership is not the best family setting to bring up children. As a Christian and a paediatrician I believe that children do best with a mother and father in a committed, long-term relationship.
“I cannot recommend a same-sex household to be in the best interest of a child, despite what politicians may have legislated for, and as those on the panel have a legal obligation to do what is in the best interest of the child, then I am not able to vote in favour of such placements.”
Fine, perhaps firing her from the adoption panel was wrong under the law. It’s right however that she not be able to vote in cases where same-sex couples are planning to adopt, given that her ‘belief’ is based entirely on bigotry and not the rule of law. I’m sure that she can find research findings hostile to same-sex adoption – it doesn’t make them reliable though, particularly if written from a religiously zealous perspective. Ultimately it’s reassuring that although she’s managed to keep her job, she’s been prevented from behaving in a homophobic way towards gay couples who are objectively as good at parenting as heterosexual ones. You don’t need research findings to prove that one.