The Prime Minister knew in his heart that his Communities Minister, Ruth Kelly, was right about this issue. But, battered by cash-for-honours and increasingly at the mercy of events, he lacked the authority to impose a sensible resolution, allowing the opportunistic and vote-seeking deputy leadership contenders Alan Johnson and Peter Hain to dictate events.
Much of the coverage of this issue on the blogosphere has been in the opposite direction, and it is hard to go against their views. But I came across something yesterday on a blog called For Queen and Country that sums up my thoughts on this entirely.
The author, who blogs under the name Cyberleader, makes the very wise argument that, when you have two competing sets of rights, it is better, and more British, to respect both points of view and try to muddle through than to impose one set of values over the other.
"The status quo before the Act - that gay couples could adopt from a number of agencies and that Catholic adoption agencies could turn them away - was a perfectly acceptable state of affair for all parties involved, and it seemed a common-sense way to avoid a clash of values.
"This would have been the perfectly sensible (and quite British) compromise - avoid the issue and everyone could live and let live.
"Roman Catholics didn't question the right of gays to adopt and in fact referred them to other agencies and in turn they had their rights to their beliefs in turn, which you would think would be fair enough.
"However, New Labour can't resist a bit of tinkering, and so we have another fissure point in British society, which has far deeper implications than they intended. We now have two competing sets of rights set against each other, and there can't be a return to the former status quo without one group taking great offence."