Officials at Missionaries of Charity say they’d rather millions of children be homeless than adopted by single parents who may or may not be gay.
The Catholic charity, which was founded by Mother Teresa in 1950, offers humanitarian aid in a total of 130 countries, including running 16 orphanages in India. The country recently passed a law allowing single, separated or divorced heterosexual adults to adopt children. Same-sex adoption, however, remains banned.
Fearing that dishonest gay people might use the law to pretend to be heterosexual in order to get their hands on an Indian orphan, officials at Missionaries of Charity have decided to halt adoptions altogether. No one — not even straight married couples — may adopt children from their orphanage.
“The new guidelines hurt our conscience,” Sister Amala told local media. “They are certainly not for religious people like us.”
She continued: “What if the single parent who we give our baby [to] turns out to be gay or lesbian? What security or moral upbringing will these children get? Our rules only allow married couples to adopt.”
But Maneka Gandhi of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, which oversees adoption guidelines in the country, told Hindustan Times that the matter isn’t up for debate.
“We are trying and persuading them because they are valuable, good people and have experience,” Gandhi said. “But if they do not follow the central guidelines, we will be left with no option but to de-recognize the orphanages run by them and shift the children to other places.”
There is no official data on just how many children are available for adoption in India, but estimates from several human rights groups say it’s in the tens of millions.