Thinking Anglicans

Charity Commission rules against RC adoption agency

See earlier reports on this case, here, and also here.

Civil Society reports on the latest decision:

The Charity Commission has again ruled that Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) may not change its objects in order to exclude homosexual couples from accessing its adoption services.

Despite being told in March by the High Court to reconsider, the Commission has stood by its original decision, arguing that there are not “particularly convincing and weighty reasons justifying the proposed discrimination”.

Speaking about the judgement, the Commission’s chief executive Andrew Hind, said: “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.”

Read the news reports:

Guardian Riazat Butt Catholic adoption agency loses bid to bar gay parents from service

Telegraph Martin Beckford Last Catholic adoption agency faces closure after Charity Commission ruling

BBC Catholic charity’s appeal over gay adoption fails

Press Association Bid to block gays adopting fails

Mail Online Church loses gay adoption battle as charity commission claims adoption agency’s decision to help heterosexual couples only broke the rules

Associated Press UK: Adoption charity can’t ban gay couples

Third Sector Charity Commission refuses to change Catholic Care gay adoption decision

Press releases from the principals:

Charity Commission
Catholic charity ‘may not restrict its adoption service’, says Charity Commission
Summary of Decision
Full Document (PDF)

Catholic Care
PRESS STATEMENT : 18th August 2010

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
20 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

Let’s hope that the Pope’s visit will not be allowed to affect this latest judgement against the Catholic Adoption Agencies’ wish to discriminate against same-sex adoptive parents – by any of the UK Governmental dignitaries he is scheduled to meet. One fears that if Tony Blair had still been in office (with his newly-declared RC affiliation). he might have falloen under the onslought of papal bullism. However, with the present coalition heads of government, one hopes that justice will prevail. If Cardinal Newman were still alive – instead of being commemorated by a system of sanctification he himself might never… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
11 years ago

Very good news.

Cardinal Newman certainly didn’t want to be made a saint as is made clear in the recent biography about him and neither did he want to be exhumed. Luckily he got his way about the latter.

Simon Sarmiento
11 years ago

Let’s try sticking to the topic of the article, which isn’t about Newman, or the papal visit…

Bill Dilworth
11 years ago

From the Charity Commission’s summary:

“On average it provides parents for about 10 children a year.”

All of whom (according to the Commission) would be placed were the agency to close. I thought we were dealing with a much, much bigger operation here.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
11 years ago

I listened to the BBC news and it said the charity wanted only heterosexual couples to adopt. Could some one tell me, if the charity fought for the rights of a child to have married parents…a key distinction.

I find it incredible if a Catholic Charity was taking a stand against gays and approving fornication.

Craig Nelson
Craig Nelson
11 years ago

I’m not at all surprised by this decision which properly reflects in my view both the decision of the legislature and human rights based approaches. I think we had an extensive debate at the time the law was passed and a temporary exemption for adoption agencies was given to allow them to adapt. I found the high court ruling a bit odd at the time but freely admit I’m not a lawyer…..

chenier1
chenier1
11 years ago

Simon Thank you for the link to the full decision; it seems from a quick scan of the media reports that they have not noticed a central issue. The charity claimed in the High Court that: ‘Catholic Care was the adoption agency of last resort for the local authorities concerned, whose practice was to have recourse to Catholic Care only when all other avenues for the identification of willing and suitable adoptive parents had failed. But for Catholic Care’s work in that field, those children would therefore not have been adopted that year or, probably, at all.’ That claim was… Read more »

Bill Dilworth
11 years ago

@RIW Judging from other documents, it appears that they wanted to limit services to heterosexual couples to those in accordance with Church tenets.

Martin Reynolds
11 years ago

As I see it chenier1 picks up the first main point, while Robert covers the second. The Commissioners certainly took the instruction from Justice Briggs to “investigate” seriously. Even more sadly for all Christians the results of these investigations show there was an deliberate attempt to mislead – they were not the agency of last resort, other local agencies cover the same work and can take up the slack and, far from working only with happily married couples – the charity had worked with singles and unmarried couples ….. not (as RIW notes) quite the truth! So they failed to… Read more »

rick allen
11 years ago

“On average it provides parents for about 10 children a year.”

Obviously a dangerous organization that must be eliminated.

Bill Dilworth
11 years ago

“Obviously a dangerous organization that must be eliminated.”

Right – because no society enforces its laws when it’s confined to just a few cases…

Simon Sarmiento
11 years ago

chenier1 is absolutely right to draw attention to the details contained in the full text of the decision, which is well worth reading all the way through. The press reports to date are based mainly on the summary document, which was sent out on Wednesday, together with the press release, by the Charity Commission.

jimB
11 years ago

Filing false claims before a court is a sure fire way to lose a case. The basic legal rule is that if one must lie to make a case, none exists.

FWIW
jimB

chenier1
chenier1
11 years ago

Martin

‘The Commissioners certainly took the instruction from Justice Briggs to “investigate” seriously.’

And how! It is about as close to bomb-proof as humans get; a very pretty piece of investigation work. I hope the team-leader took the grunts out for a drink when it was finalised; they certainly deserve it…

martin
martin
11 years ago

Here we have it! If Leeds Catholic Care had taken the sort of legal advice used by a number of other Catholic agencies, including those who have complied with the legislation, and whose previous non-discriminatory policies meant that they weren’t going to start discriminating now, then Leeds wouldn’t have got into this mess. Watch now to see what Westminster Catholic Childrens’ Society, and the Birmingham Father Hudson Society now do! From the US-based Catholic News Service: “Neil Addison, a Catholic lawyer who specializes in religious freedom, said that if all 11 Catholic adoption agencies – which together found new families… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
11 years ago

‘Addison is not of course a disinterested party given that his Thomas More Legal Centre has been involved in a number of challenges to equality legislation’

The organisation’s name-sake does not augur well. More was hardly a model of toleration and openness to others himself. Those whom he considered heretic were in for a rough-ride from himself.

chenier1
chenier1
11 years ago

‘”Neil Addison, a Catholic lawyer who specializes in religious freedom, said that if all 11 Catholic adoption agencies – which together found new families for about 250 children a year – had united in their opposition to the regulations, the commission would not have been able to argue that their closure would have been insignificant.’ He has not even bothered to read the Charity Commissions determination, has he? Had he done so, he would have realised that the false claim was that Catholic Care itself was the adoption agency of last resort for all the 13 local authorities concerned. He… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
11 years ago

Here’s what Neil Addison actually said earlier on this matter

http://religionlaw.blogspot.com/2009/06/catholic-adoption-agencies-lose-case.html

chenier1
chenier1
11 years ago

Simon Thanks once again for directing us to this earlier article by Neil Addison; I note that his original legal thesis was comprehensively trashed in the comments on his blog, and he made no attempt to defend it. What he did say, in response to another comment, was that: ‘The point is that the Charities were organisations, which were founded by the Catholic Church using Catholic money and they should have been free to make their own decisions on same sex adoption rather than being coerced’ For those unfamiliar with British law I should explain that charities have significant tax… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
11 years ago

No catholic Agency which allows the adoption of a child by an unmarried ” heterosexual” couple is worthy of the name Catholic. Furthermore to hand over a child to a non Catholic Couple is in my view, to lessen that child’s hope of salvation.

That is why we insist on partners in non Catholic marriages making promises about the children that could be born.

Don’t fear but in the future this will be tightened up.

20
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x