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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


No Deal

Cabinet rejects exemption on gay adoptions

Compromise means Catholic church will not be given special treatment

Will Woodward and Severin Carrell
Thursday January 25, 2007
The Guardian

The Catholic church is almost certain to lose its battle for special treatment over gay adoption rules under a deal agreed by the cabinet to heal damaging divisions between senior ministers. Cabinet sources said the new proposals would require Catholic adoption agencies to consider gay couples - or close down - after a reasonable delay that would allow them to ensure that the children in their care are properly dealt with.

Article continues
The transitional period could be up to three years, but ministers concede that some agencies may prefer to close rather than consider gay couples. The compromise is far from the complete exemption demanded by Catholic and Anglican leaders, who wrote to members of the cabinet. Their concerns were raised by Ruth Kelly, the communities secretary, who is a staunch Catholic.

Though Downing Street insists the prime minister was not calling for an exemption but merely trying to broker a solution, cabinet colleagues strongly criticised his sympathy for the church's view. Mr Blair's critics will also seize upon the compromise as a sign of his political weakness in the last months of his premiership.

Yesterday Mr Blair held a meeting with a delegation of Labour MPs, including Angela Eagle, Chris Bryant and David Borrows, and a number of Catholic MPs, all of whom argued for no exemption.

Ms Eagle said: "Transition is certainly possible so long as it is sensible and doesn't have to go on forever. We are not being the dogmatic ones in this argument. We are not demanding that gay couples absolutely in all circumstances have to be approved. We are saying they should not be ruled out as a priority."

The regulations requiring all adoption agencies to consider gay couples are due to be laid in April and sources said the government intended to meet the target.

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