A Roman Catholic adoption charity faces de-registration — because it expects couples to be married for at least two years before adopting kids.
Scotland’s charity regulator admits the St Margaret’s adoption agency provides a valuable service – but says the marriage policy discriminates against gay couples.
The Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) made the ruling in response to a complaint by the National Secular Society.
OSCR has therefore ordered St Margaret’s to change its procedures before 22 April this year, or it will be thrown off the charity register.
Critics say that religious groups are being thrown out into the cold because of their beliefs about marriage.
John Deighan of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said: “This proves the concerns have been valid. The adoption society has done an outstanding job throughout the years.”
Education Minister for the Scottish Government, Mike Russell said he was “disappointed” by the OSCR decision.
“We do not believe that this outcome is in the best interests of the children St Margaret’s helps, who are in need of a safe and loving family home,” he said.
But the National Secular Society, which made the original complaint, welcomed the decision.
Scottish spokesman Alistair McBay said: “This kind of crude discrimination is no longer acceptable in our society – and that goes double where the discrimination is, in effect, being largely financed by the public purse.”
Virtually all of Britain’s faith-based adoption agencies have been shut down, or have dropped their religious ethos, because of equality laws.