Last RC adoption agency renews fight to stay open
Fri, 8 Oct 2010
The last remaining Roman Catholic adoption agency in England has appealed to a High Court judge in a desperate attempt to preserve its religious ethos and stay open.
Of the eleven Roman Catholic adoption agencies operating in 2007, Catholic Care is the only one which hasn’t yet closed down or ditched its religious ethos because of Labour’s sexual orientation regulations.
The Charity Commission claims the regulations mean RC adoption agencies must place children for adoption with same-sex couples, despite it being contrary to church teaching.
Leeds-based Catholic Care wants to continue its faith based policy of assessing only married heterosexuals and single people as potential adopters.
But earlier this year the Charity Commission ruled that the agency’s religious views didn’t justify their refusal to place children with homosexuals, and it told Catholic Care to either close down its adoption service or alter its stance on same-sex adoption.
Now Catholic Care has lodged an appeal, arguing that the Charity Commission ignored a previous ruling by High Court Judge Sir Michael Briggs who ruled in favour of the agency in March.
Benjamin James, of London law firm Bircham Dyson Bell Solicitors, said the “Commission is wrong in its decision.”
He added: “We have lodged an appeal with the charity tribunal and the charity tribunal will request that the Charity Commission responds within 28 days.
“Once the Commission has responded, there will be a directions hearing deciding how the case will be managed going forward”.
“The actual appeal is whether the Charity Commission correctly interpreted Sir Michael’s [Briggs] judgment,” he added.
The requirement for Roman Catholic adoption agencies either to ditch their religious ethos or face closure has previously faced criticism.
Homosexual journalist Andrew Pierce, who was cared for by a Roman Catholic adoption agency, has voiced his support for them.
Catholic Care also provides residential care for children, support for adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems and school counselling.
Earlier this year the House of Lords heard that since 2007 there had only been one instance of a same-sex couple approaching a British Roman Catholic adoption agency.
There are currently 242 adoption agencies operating in the UK, according to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.
The appeal comes amidst increasing concern among many Christians that their rights and liberties are often trampled on by homosexual ‘rights’.
Earlier this year it was revealed that two Christian B&B owners who wouldn’t give a double bed to a homosexual couple were set to face legal action.
Mike and Susanne Wilkinson, who run the Swiss B&B in Berkshire, turned the same-sex couple away because it was against their convictions to let them share a double room in their home.
The Wilkinsons would have offered the couple separate single rooms, but were unable to do so as the guesthouse was fully booked.
Their case is similar to that of Christian B&B owners from Cornwall who are currently being sued over the same issue.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull have had a policy of only offering married couples double rooms since they bought the guesthouse in 1986.
The couple are being sued for refusing to allow a homosexual couple to stay in a double room.
The Wilkinsons and the Bulls are both being supported by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.