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Then in November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered gay marriage.

The issue is adoption to same-sex couples." CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF BOSTON made the announcement on March 10: It was getting out of the adoption business. "It's a shame because it is certainly going to mean that fewer children from foster care are going to find permanent homes." Marylou Sudders, president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said simply, "This is a tragedy for kids." How did this tragedy happen? Massachusetts law prohibited "orientation discrimination" over a decade ago.

As one Becket Fund donor told Picarello ruefully, "At least you know you're not in the buggy whip business." Picarello is a Harvard-trained litigator experienced in religious liberty issues.

But predicting the legal consequences of as big a change as gay marriage is a job for more than one mind.

What these bishops are doing is shameful, wrong, and has nothing to do whatsoever with faith." But getting square with the church didn't end Catholic Charities' woes.

To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state.

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"This is going to affect every aspect of church-state relations." Recent years, he predicts, will be looked back on as a time of relative peace between church and state, one where people had the luxury of litigating cases about things like the Ten Commandments in courthouses.But because marriage affects just about every area of the law, gay marriage is going to create a point of conflict at every point around the perimeter." For scholars, these will be interesting times: Want to know exactly where the borders of church and state are located? The flood of litigation surrounding each point of contact will map out the territory.For religious liberty lawyers, there are boom times ahead. The issue is adoption to same-sex couples." It was shocking news.Then in October 2005, the Boston Globe broke the news: Boston Catholic Charities had placed a small number of children with same-sex couples.