It seems surprising that the state would want to put the Catholic Church out of the adoption business. Corporal works of mercy are no less important to the life of the Church than its sacramental ministry. Forbidding the Church to perform them is a serious blow to its religious liberty. Why would the government do that?
One reason is that the Church refused to go along with the effort, enshrined in these regulations and blessed in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, to give gay families the same legal rights as straight families.
But Catholic Charities did not obstruct that effort; it only declined to assist it. Is our commitment to equality so strong that we are willing to put Catholic Charities out of business because it won't promote an agenda that it views as morally wrong?
The issue is not whether the Church or the state has the better of the debate over gay families. When freedom is at stake, the issue is never whether the claimant is right. Freedom of the press protects publication of pornography, blasphemy, and personal attacks. Freedom of religion is above all else a protection for ways of life that society views with skepticism or distaste.