March 18, 2010

IconCatholic charity wins High Court gay adoption ruling

A Catholic adoption agency that refuses to consider gay couples as parents has won its High Court appeal.

Leeds-based Catholic Care launched the legal action, saying it would have to give up its work finding homes for children rather than comply with legislation stating it could not discriminate against prospective parents who are gay.

It had originally sought an exemption by using a clause in the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations, which holds that discrimination can occur if it is in pursuit of the organisation’s charitable objectives – but this had been opposed by the Charity Commission.

Mr Justice Briggs, sitting in London, allowed Catholic Care’s appeal and ordered the Charity Commission to reconsider the case in light of his judgement.

Jonathan Finney, head of external affairs at Stonewall, said: “It’s unthinkable that anyone engaged in delivering any kind of public or publicly funded service should be given licence to pick and choose service users on the basis of individual prejudice.

“It’s clearly in the best interests of children in care to encourage as wide a pool of potential adopters as possible. There should be no question of discriminatory behaviour by any organisation that benefits from the taxpayer.”

The Rt Rev Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds, welcomed the decision, saying it would “help in our determination to continue to provide this invaluable service to benefit children, families and communities”.

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