Catholic adoption agency fights to retain right to discriminate against same-sex couples

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

England’s last remaining Catholic adoption agency have filed an appeal against the Charity Commission for England and Wales, who forbade them to turn away any same-sex couples approaching them with a view to becoming adoptive or foster parents.

The Catholic Care agency, which serves Leeds, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Hallam, wish to continue their policy of dealing only with married heterosexuals and single men and women as potential adoptive parents.

They lodged their appeal last week against the decision taken back in July by the Charity Commission that their policy was discriminatory toward homosexuals and in breach of European and British equality and human rights laws.

As reported in the Catholic Review, the agency’s appeal argues that the Commission ignored the opinion of a High Court judge, Sir Michael Briggs, who ruled in favor of Catholic Care back in March when they first appealed against the decision.

Catholic Care’s lawyers are arguing that Section 193 of the 2010 Equality Act allows charities a limited right to discriminate if it represents a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.”

In turn, the Commission argued that such “discrimination can only be permitted in the most compelling circumstances.”

Of all the Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales, Catholic Care was the only one to fight against the laws, passed in 2007, which prohibit discrimination in the provision of goods and services to LGBT people.

The other agencies have since either split from the church or closed down.