Christian foster couple want ‘political intervention’ in gay equality laws

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A Christian couple who were barred from fostering because of their views on homosexuality are seeking a ‘political intervention’ in gay equality laws.

Eunice and Owen Johns, of Derby, have been advised by their lawyer Paul Diamond not to appeal the High Court decision because judges are having to interpret “bad law”.

Instead, they and Mr Diamond are seeking a review of equality laws and will begin lobbying MPs and ministers to support their cause.

The Johns were told by Derby council in 2007 that their application to become foster parents would not be approved because they had admitted they would tell children that homosexuality is unacceptable.

Last month, High Court judges Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beeston upheld the council’s decision and ruled that that the Johns’ views could harm foster children.

They also dismissed Mr Diamond’s claims as “a travesty of reality”.

Mr Diamond said in a Christian Legal Centre statement: “The courts are so set against religious freedom for Christians that an appeal is likely to only make matters worse.

“In recent years, there has been a combination of bad laws and a number of poor judicial appointments by the previous government.

“Where there are excellent judges they are restricted by bad laws. Unfortunately, there are also judges making law based on personal predilections. Parliament must remedy this situation as a matter of urgency.”

He added: “The British people have reversed silly laws in the past; the time is ripe for a review of the equality laws. It is time for the ‘Big Society’ to become a reality and to re-strengthen the communitarian institutions such as the church and other such bodies that can build this.

“Finally, the absurd ‘human rights’ agenda needs to be re-visited including the Human Rights Act.”

Mr Diamond and the Johns are to ask MPs to sign an ‘Equalities and Conscience Petition’ which calls on prime minister David Cameron to ensure that laws allow Christians to act on their consciences.

This week, Mr Cameron backed the High Court’s decision on the couple, saying: “This matter was decided by a court in the appropriate way and I think we should rest with the judgment that was made.

The prime minister said that he was a churchgoer but added: “I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad minded.”