Charity in gay adoption battle hit with legal bills

Mon, 15 Jun 2009

A Roman Catholic adoption agency which lost a battle to defend its pro-marriage ethos from new ‘equality’ regulations says it has been left with “a big dent” in its reserves.

The Leeds-based charity, Catholic Care, was recently told it must consider gay couples as potential adopters under the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs), despite its belief that children need a mother and a father.

Chief Executive Mark Wiggin said the charity had needed two barristers and five solicitors to help wade through the detail of the case.

Things became even more complicated when the Equality and Human Rights Commission was allowed to intervene against the group.

The case was one of the first to be heard by the new Charity Tribunal appeal system, which promised to make the process quicker and cheaper for groups to challenge decisions made by the Charity Commission.

But Mr Wiggin said: “The costs are prohibitive for most people; it has made a big dent in our reserves.”

Terry Sanderson, the President of the National Secular Society, said: “This is the cost of bigotry. There could be absolutely no justification for the Equality Laws to be breached on the basis of religious dogma.”

Although the Tribunal ruled against Catholic Care, it noted that the charity was “a well-respected voluntary adoption agency which has made a significant contribution to the provision of adoption services in this country and facilitated many successful adoption placements”.

Speaking at the time of the ruling, a spokesman for Leeds Diocese said if the decision caused the closure of Roman Catholic adoption services “a flagship service of the charities will be lost”.

He added: “We are concerned about the possible impact this will have on potential adoptive parents and children.”

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