Updated Sunday morning
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued a statement apologising for a mistaken in their intervention in this case:
Earlier this week the case of Johns v Derby City Council, in which the Commission had intervened, attracted some attention. Unfortunately a mistake within our legal submission led to an inference that we did not intend and which was misconstrued as suggesting that the Commission equates Christian moral views with an infection. This oversight was caused by a drafting error in our submissions to the court. This should have been picked up in our internal clearance process for the legal documentation and does not represent the position of the Commission in any way.
Furthermore, the Commission entirely rejects any view (as reported in the media) that rights in relation to sexual orientation ‘take precedence’ over religious rights. The Commission fully upholds the rights of looked-after children to be supported in their chosen religion or that of their family, in the context of the paramount importance of the welfare of the child…
Christian Concern has issued Johns Fostering Case: Effects of the Ruling and Further Analysis.
There has been huge media interest regarding the Johns ruling by the High Court. There has also been some confusion over the nature and implications of the ruling.
According to this American report, there will be no appeal of this case. See Christian couple warned not to appeal decision barring them from foster care. Some extracts are below the fold.
“When these laws were introduced, particularly by Prime Minister Blair, they were not resisted,” Diamond said. “They seemed fair and reasonable. But over the past five or six years, we’ve had a number of crazy decisions in Britain.
“We once had a millennium’s worth of human rights and religious freedom, just built into the culture,” Diamond recalled. “It’s inconceivable that these millennium-old freedoms could be overturned in 10 years – but they were. People are getting very scared, and rightly so.”
“Things can change very rapidly. If a few key things happen in America, and a few judicial appointments should be made, you will find that there can be very swift and rapid changes in your basic assumptions of what your rights are.”
“It’s got very little to do with the law,” he observed. “You have to see these decisions as political acts. One set of ‘rights’ is triumphing over another. It’s simply masked by this language of ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity.’”
“If we went to the court of appeal, I believe the outcome would have been worse,” Diamond lamented. “The judgment, which was so bad in terms of Christian rights, would have been reinforced at a higher level. And we have cost rules here, so you can end up paying the other side for your attempt to stand on your rights.”
“I thought an appeal, in the current circumstances, would be hopeless – and would make the situation worse for Christians. The senior court of appeals judge made it quite clear that he believes the outcome of religious practice is ‘discriminatory’ against homosexuals.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, who assisted the Johns in her position as the head of the Christian Legal Centre, shared Diamond’s concern over what was happening in Britain. Like Diamond, she voiced concern that the United States and other countries could be traveling a similar path, sooner than most citizens might expect.
In England, she recalled, Christians and other religious groups had received “continual assurances” that equality and non-discrimination laws would not be used to subject them to discrimination for their own beliefs.
“And yet,” she said, “the law has very clearly been used to trample Christian rights.”
“What we’ve got is the imposition of a new political orthodoxy,” Williams explained. “If you don’t think or act in a certain way, you will find yourself barred from public office. It’s very frightening, and it’s very real. We have plenty of cases here at the Christian Legal Centre to prove it.”
“It doesn’t take long,” she reflected. “We were not in this position at the beginning of the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown regime.”