In 2008 Cornerstone Fostering and Adoption agency were subjected to an investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), over their long-standing policy of only placing children with committed Christian married couples, after new equality laws came into force.
The agency successfully responded with the help of The Christian Institute’s legal team.
Two years later, Cornerstone faced scrutiny again – this time from the Charity Commission. It questioned the organisation over its requirement for carers to be committed Christians and required proof that such a policy was exempt from religious discrimination law.
Again The Christian Institute’s legal team helped Cornerstone draft a response to the Charity Commission and in January 2011, the regulator gave the adoption and fostering agency a clean bill of health.
It noted that Cornerstone’s requirement for carers to be committed Christians was lawful on the basis that it seeks to provide a distinctly Christian-based adoption and fostering service.
Without the involvement of The Christian Institute, their legal team and their support financially our doors would have closed. Pam Birtle, Cornerstone General Manager
The Christian Institute’s Solicitor Advocate, Sam Webster, explains the wider significance of the case:
The positive outcome in this case demonstrated that Christian organisations do not need to compromise their beliefs in order to remain within the law.
The case highlighted how important it is for Christian charities to get their foundational documents right and to apply them in practice in a consistent and faithful way. Sam Webster, Solicitor Advocate, The Christian Institute