Catholic Care Adoption are to appeal against the Charity Commission again

Catholic Care are the last remaining Roman Catholic adoption agency in England and Wales continuing to fight the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs).

The law outlawed discrimination against gay couples in the provision of goods and services and was pushed through Parliament in 2007. It meant that Catholic adoption agencies were obliged to assess same-sex couples as potential adopters or foster parents.

Whilst other Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales changed their policies (and severed their ties with the church hierarchy) or closed, last March, Catholic Care won the right to appeal against The Charity Commission which had rejected its plea to an exemption under the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

The reason Catholic Care won this unexpected victory is that the government inserted a clause in the 2007 Equality Act, Regulation 18, which states:

Nothing in these Regulations shall make it unlawful for a person to provide benefits only to persons of a particular sexual orientation, if—
(a) he acts in pursuance of a charitable instrument, and
(b) the restriction of benefits to persons of that sexual orientation is imposed by reason of or on the grounds of the provisions of the charitable instrument.

In other words, charities can continue to discriminate if the stated aim of the charity was to provide services to people of a particular sexual orientation. (This loophole was inserted to ensure that gay charities could not be sued for discrimination by heterosexual couples.) Catholic Care simply wrote an explicit reference to serving heterosexuals into its constitution, and won their case to appeal.

Back in August Catholic Care lost its appeal to restrict its service to heterosexual couples after the Charity Commission found there was no justification for barring gay and lesbian parents.

Andrew Hind – Chief Executive of the Charity Commission – said at the time:

“In certain circumstances, it is not against the law for charities to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. However, because the prohibition on such discrimination is a fundamental principle of human rights law, such discrimination can only be permitted in the most compelling circumstances.

“We have concluded that in this case the reasons Catholic Care have set out do not justify their wish to discriminate.”

Today I’ve learnt that Catholic Care are going to continue the fight and have released this statement:

The Trustees of Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) (“the Charity”) have confirmed that they are appealing the recent decision by the Charity Commission for England and Wales to refuse consent to change the Charity’s objects regarding its adoption services.  The amendment sought by the Charity would permit it to restrict the provision of adoption services on the grounds of sexual orientation.

This Charity sought the restriction so that it could continue to offer adoption services in accordance with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and to allow the Charity to rely on Catholic funds.

The Charity needs to draw on these funds as the funding received from local authorities is not sufficient to provide the services to the high standards offered by the Charity.

The Charity filed the appeal on 28 September 2010 with the Charity Tribunal (the First Tier General Regulatory Tribunal (Charity)) which hears appeals against decisions of the Charity Commission. The appeal requests that the Charity Commission’s decision be reviewed.

As this matter has already been heard by the Charity Tribunal and the High Court, a request has been made for the appeal to be transferred to the Upper Tribunal so that this is heard by a panel including a High Court Judge.

A spokesperson for Catholic Care stated:

“We were very disappointed by the Charity Commission’s ruling and the decision to appeal has not been taken lightly.  We believe that we have very strong grounds for the appeal and are convinced of our case.

There are many children in need of a family and we want to continue to support families seeking to adopt and children in need of adoption. However, if upheld the Charity Commission’s decision will lead to the closure of the Charity’s services.

The Charity is not seeking to prevent same sex couples from adopting children; the Charity is simply seeking to ensure that it can deliver a valuable service in accordance with both the law and the religious ethos of the Charity.”

No date has been confirmed for the initial hearing but the Charity hopes that it will take place before the end of the year (2010).

Catholic Care have been providing adoption services for over 100 years, time will tell if they can survive Labour’s ‘equality’ legacy.

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20 Responses to “Catholic Care Adoption are to appeal against the Charity Commission again”

  1. Goy Says:

    So how much does all this Lawfare cost the taxpayer/public purse and the UK’s most vulnerable children?

  2. webmaster Says:

    @Goy A tremendous amount…

  3. iam terry-fc Says:

    It’s not about cost it’s most important to protect children from
    nut wing fundamentalist’s.

  4. Sophie Says:

    When segregation was banned in America there were plenty of God-fearing folk who felt this was against God’s law and that any move towards racial equality – never mind the horrors of miscegenation – was a serious threat to morality.

    Similarly, many good Christians kept or traded in slaves. As I have posted before, and can be readily substantiated, there is a lot more Biblical authority that can be used to support racism and the slave-trade than there is condemning homosexuality. The verses employed to condemn homosexuality are highly ambiguous, which cannot be said of the matter-of-fact acceptance of slavery in the Bible.

    Today the Catholic Care Adoption agency is in very much the same position as church-going racists in the American South in the latter half of the 20th Century. The objections they raise, however persuasive they may seem to themselves, are no longer considered valid by society at large. The rest of us have moved on, morally, and there is an overwhelming acknowledgment that gay people – like black people – deserve equal rights and respect. That’s how it is and the Catholic Care Adoption agency is unlikely to succeed in its attempt to swim against the tide.

    Thing is, there’s no evidence that gay parents aren’t as good as straight ones. Rather the reverse. The reason the gay marriage ban in California was defeated earlier this year was that those who opposed gay marriage were unable to provide any convincing evidence for the damage they insisted would result. Parenting was a key issue, and the evidence that defeated them entirely supported gay parenting. If anyone’s interested I posted a longer account of this landmark case, including links, on another thread.

    What’s sad is that, rather than lead the way morally, the major churches too often lag behind, having to be chivvied by those with more compassion and insight. This is true of racial and sexual equality, and now with the gay issue too.

  5. Gordon Says:

    I think every evangelical Christian should be forced to go for a coffee with a gay man. That way they would see that they have identical concerns about everyday things and are not spending their time plotting world domination.

  6. Sophie Says:

    @ Gordon: As I may have said before, it was working closely with a gay man that created a total reversal in the views of an evangelical relation of mine. His colleague was devoted to his partner and my relative heard all about his happy plans for their approaching civil partnership. He also met the other man at company functions and very much liked him too. Faced with admirable people sharing a loving union and its universal domestic details, his prejudices melted away.

    It tickles me when someone like Jill claims to have gay friends because, given her view of them, what gay person would want to know her? This level of hatred represents a terrible hubris. God, after all, has a wicked sense of humour. How will she feel if one of her children or grandchildren is gay? It’s an experience that has opened the eyes of many.

  7. Cabal Says:

    @Sophie:

    “When segregation was banned in America there were plenty of God-fearing folk who felt this was against God’s law and that any move towards racial equality – never mind the horrors of miscegenation – was a serious threat to morality.”

    Yes, and in one notable case, that was sublimated into their resistance against modern issues like gay marriage and adoption.

    http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2007/05/the_original_sin_of_the_christ.php

  8. Sophie Says:

    @ Cabal: How shocking. Really shocking. I knew Jerry Falwell was a nasty piece of work, but not just how nasty.

    Mind you, during this week’s documentary on the Tea Party I ended up playing a game of “spot the non-white face” – and didn’t spot one. There may have been some I missed but if so they’re so rare as to be imperceptible. My perception is that the whole movement is based on an unspoken, almost inchoate rage at the temerity of the electorate in electing a black President.

  9. webmaster Says:

    Check this out:

    Telegraph – Fewer children adopted after equality rules force agencies to shut

  10. Cabal Says:

    @Cabal:

    “Mind you, during this week’s documentary on the Tea Party I ended up playing a game of “spot the non-white face” – and didn’t spot one. There may have been some I missed but if so they’re so rare as to be imperceptible. My perception is that the whole movement is based on an unspoken, almost inchoate rage at the temerity of the electorate in electing a black President.”

    If you want an example, look up Lloyd Marcus’ recent contributions to the Guardian.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/lloyd-marcus-tea-party-blog

    I should warn you though, it contains several instances of epic fail ignorance-tropes such as “death panels” and “x (that is NOT socialism) is socialism”.

    For added comedy, on the more commented articles, check out the sheer number of right-wingers posting and saying something along the lines of “ooh, bet they won’t publish this, liberals never let the opposing viewpoint be heard” – blind to the hilarious irony that their comments are (a) being posted; (b) being posted on an article published in a left-wing newspaper; (c) a newspaper which published an article by the quintessential EVERYTHING-is-socialism Tea Partier, which is coverage for about as right-wing as you can get in the West these days without joining the BNP.

  11. Michael Says:

    @Sophie:

    1) The verses condemning homosexuality are not highly ambiguous – rather, they don’t really exist, and condemnations tend rather to treat the sin, primarily because (I suspect) the ancients did not recognise, in common with the vast majority of human cultures throughout time, the status of ‘homosexual’ as a distinct existential category. They recognised only people sleeping with their own sex – and said we shouldn’t do it.

    2) the gay/black parallel is completely silly, and is only ever really maintained by the lazy logic of combox bores – in truth, it falls apart under any sort of scrutiny. There may be some sort of parallel with regards political status and identities, which unsurprisingly is what you focus on, but then taking into account my first point I suspect you would reject the notion of ‘homosexual’ as socio-political construction.

    3) ‘What’s sad is that, rather than lead the way morally, the major churches too often lag behind, having to be chivvied by those with more compassion and insight’ – Quite where you’ve received this pock-marked history, I have no idea.

    4) ‘it was working closely with a gay man that created a total reversal in the views of an evangelical relation of mine’ – good, and this relation of yours should be embarassed that he/she judged the character of a man according to whom he slept with. Still, quite how that brings about a reversal in the ethics of homosexual intercourse is beyond me. Seems to me that your relation has actually just swung from one kind of unthinking prejudice to another, without ever actually considering the issue at hand.

  12. Jim Says:

    Webmaster – On your Telegraph quote: The alarm bells rang when I got to the Christian Legal Centre part. Sure enough the headline does not paint the real picture, which is that numbers being adopted have been declining for some time, and a 15% drop in the year that the new legislation was introduced is not in itself proof of the effect of Catholic agencies closing. I’m going to do a bit more research on this to get a more detailed overall picture and get back to you.

  13. Jim Says:

    Michael,
    Dd you read Caba’s quote from “Mikethemadbiologist”? It discusses Jerry Falwell and others’ shift in focus, andmakes an interesting link between racism and hatred and fear of gays in the US.

    Part of the last paragraph reads:

    “…This history is something to remember when one hears diatribes against ‘religion’ that rightly focus on theopolitical conservatives. They have transformed their original hatred and fear of black people–although not entirely–into hatred and fear of gays and ‘uppity’ women. …”

  14. Michael Says:

    @Jim – I’d recommend you judge Christianity by the truth it espouses, and not some of the idiots that espouse it.

  15. Michael Says:

    @Jim – I’d recommend you judge Christianity by the truth it espouses, and not by some of the idiots that espouse it.

  16. Sophie Says:

    @ Jim: The idiots, one assumes, being Michael…

    @ Michael: Your comments are silly on so many levels I’m not even going to start. There’s only so much time I can devote to bigots and this week I’m already way over quota. Believe any old rubbish you like: I’m bored already.

  17. iam terry-fc Says:

    What the religiots seek, as do so many religiots, is the privilege to ignore bits of law that conflict with their ridiculous beliefs; in a civilized society this is unacceptable. The religiots should be barred from fostering on the grounds of stupidity. No local authority or any other official can possibly fail to appreciate that any child entrusted to their care is going to be systematically brainwashed with their primitive views the consequences of which can be devastating .

  18. Goy Says:

    @iam terry-fc,

    Would your blanket ban on religiots include Pagans and Black Sabbath fans?

  19. Goy Says:

    @iam terry-fc,

    “No local authority or any other official can possibly fail to appreciate that any child entrusted to their care is going to be systematically brainwashed with their primitive views the consequences of which can be devastating .”

    :)

  20. iam terry-fc Says:

    @goy
    Yes anyone with mental health issue’s.

    Black Sabbath fans?

    Defiantly cliff Richard fan’s

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