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RC agency fails adoption bid

09 November 2012


 

THE trustees of a Roman Catholic adoption agency, Catholic Care, are considering taking their long-running legal fight to the Court of Appeal, after losing their latest attempt to restrict its services to married heterosexual couples.

The Charity Commission has twice rejected applications from Catholic Care to amend its constitution so that it could be exempt from equality laws that prohibit discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. The High Court ordered the commission to reconsider its position in 2010 ( News, 24 March 2010); but it again rejected the application. This was upheld by the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) last year ( News, 5 May 2011).

This week, the Upper Tribunal, while critical of some of the FTT's reasoning, upheld its decision, saying: "The national authorities, in particular Parliament, have established a very clear framework of equality law which makes discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation unlawful. . .

"The fact that same-sex couples could seek to have access to adoption services offered elsewhere tended to reduce somewhat the immediate detrimental effect on them, but it did not remove the harm that would be caused to them through feeling that discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation was practised at some point in the adoption system."

Catholic Care, the social-services arm of the RC diocese of Leeds, says it will continue to support existing parents and children, but is no longer selecting or training couples to become adoptive parents. Before stopping its work, it provided about ten families a year for hard- to-place children, and was recognised as an "agency of last resort".

The charity says that its legal fight has been funded by individual benefactors, a legacy, and a Christian legal fund. "We thank all of those who have, and continue to, assist . . . with this case."

 

 

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