Labour peer Lord Glasman sympathises with anti-gay Catholic adoption agencies

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Lord Glasman says it’s “completely legitimate” for Catholics to be sceptical of Labour because it opposes the right of adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples.

The Labour peer, who is Jewish, told The Catholic Herald: “That’s a completely legitimate concern. I understand the scepticism from Catholics, from all faithful people. There’s a lack of understanding and a lack of appreciation for family.”

He added: “The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”

Lord Glasman also defended Catholic social teaching as “the basis of the new politics, of the new consensus.”

He said: “The most important thing is to express my gratitude to the Church, to the Catholic tradition for the intellectual nourishment that it’s given me and so many other people who are not Catholics.

“It’s a gift to the world. It’s at the heart of the great battle that’s going on – about whether we’re about justice through relationships and tradition or, for the other side, human rights and procedural things.”

A Labour Party spokesman said Lord Glasman’s views “do not represent the Labour Party.”

In a speech earlier this week, David Cameron said “prejudice” should not stand in the way of gay couples being able to adopt children.

Lord Glasman was given a peerage by Mr Miliband, has written speeches for the Labour leader and was seen as a close adviser.

In 2009, he coined the term “Blue Labour” arguing that the party should return to its working-class roots.

At one point Labour insiders dubbed him Mr Miliband’s “de facto chief of staff” and a “policy guru”.

But the relationship has since cooled. In July, Lord Glasman said he was wrong to accuse Mr Miliband of lacking a sense of direction in a newspaper article.

The Equality Act, passed by Labour in 2007, states that no organisation or company may discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Catholic Care, run by the Diocese of Leeds, wanted its adoption service to be made exempt from the legislation.

It lost its final appeal in November 2012. The Charity Commission refused its request in November 2008 to change its charitable objectives.