Ruling forces last Catholic adoption agency in England and Wales to cease adoptions

August 20, 2010

London, England, Aug 20, 2010 / 05:32 am (CNA).- The suppression of Catholic institutions in the U.K. continues as the only remaining Catholic adoption agency in England and Wales has lost a battle to continue its services. A commission ruled the agency’s religious views did not justify its refusal to place children with homosexual couples.

Catholic Care, the social care organization of the Diocese of Leeds, had applied to amend its legal charitable objects to allow it to continue adoption work in accordance with Catholic teaching. The Charity Commission for England and Wales refused the application, claiming that Catholic Care’s reasons did not meet the necessary threshold for an exemption from sexual orientation discrimination laws.

The charity places children only with married heterosexual couples.

“In certain circumstances, it is not against the law for charities to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation,” commented Andrew Hind, chief executive of the Charity Commission. “However, because the prohibition on such discrimination is a fundamental principle of human rights law, such discrimination can only be permitted in the most compelling circumstances.”

A Catholic Care spokesperson said the charity is “very disappointed” with the outcome.

“Catholic Care will now consider whether there is any other way in which the Charity can continue to support families seeking to adopt children in need,” the spokesperson commented in a Wednesday statement.

The agency said it will seek to register as an adoption support agency to support adoptive parents already approved by Catholic Care and to serve those who were adopted in the past and are now seeking information about their background.

Catholic Care has been providing adoption services for over 100 years and has served hundreds of families in that area. It still provides school counseling, residential care for children, and support for adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems.

While eleven Catholic adoption agencies were in operation in 2007, Catholic Care is the only one remaining which has not closed or renounced its religious identity. Sexual orientation regulations passed by the Labour government prompted the action.

The Christian Institute said the charity commission’s ruling comes amid “increasing concern” among many Christians that their rights and liberties are “often trampled on by homosexual ‘rights’.”

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