Thinking Anglicans

RC adoption agency loses fourth appeal

Updated again Sunday

The fourth appeal was heard in September, and reported here: Upper Tribunal hears fourth appeal by RC adoption agency.

Today the tribunal delivered its verdict, and unsurprisingly, the adoption agency lost again.

The full judgment can be found as a PDF file here.

Third Sector Adoption agency cannot change its objects to exclude gay couples, tribunal rules

The adoption agency Catholic Care cannot change its objects to exclude gay couples from using its adoption service, the Upper Tribunal ruled today.

The Leeds-based charity, which arranges around five adoptions a year, had appealed against a ruling in the charity tribunal that it could not restrict its service to heterosexual couples.

But the Hon Justice Sales, sitting alone, ruled that the lower tribunal’s decision was correct. He wrote in his judgment: “Notwithstanding some criticisms that can be made about the first tier tribunal’s reasoning, I am satisfied that the conclusion it came to is correct in law and that this appeal should be dismissed.”

The charity had argued that its desire to restrict its services was in line with section 193 of the Equality Act 2010. The section allows discrimination on the grounds of sexuality if this is “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.

But the first-tier tribunal found that there must be “particularly weighty” reasons to justify discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The charity argued that donors would stop supporting it if it allowed same-sex couples to use its adoption service, but the tribunal ruled that the charity had not demonstrated that this would be the case.

The charity first appealed in 2008 against an initial decision by the commission that it could not change its objects…

Catholic Herald Catholic Care loses its 5 year legal battle

Mail Online Catholic adoption agency loses five year legal battle over its refusal to accept gay couples


An excellent summary of the judgment can now be found at UK Human Rights Blog written by Rosalind English Upper Tribunal confirms illegality of Catholic Charity’s ban on same-sex couple adoption.

A further analysis of the history of this case has been published by Frank Cranmer at Law & Religion UK Catholic Care: can an adoption agency restrict its services to heterosexual adoptive parents?

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
11 years ago

This ruling says, even more clearly than before, that charities ARE able to discriminate against gay couples.

It makes clear that the Roman Catholic authorities were unable to make a convincing case to justify their claims. The judgment leaves no doubt that if Catholic Care had been able to substantiate the claims they made, which all the tribunals agree they have not, they would still need to up their game somewhat to pass the test that the discrimination could be justified.

The Charity Commission’s lawyer gets quite a slapping here too.

11 years ago

Wake up and smell the coffee, Catholic Care: that nice gay couple is making breakfast for the whole family! 😉

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
11 years ago

I am sorry. This charity places FIVE children a year for adoption, it is hardly its dominant activity. Why is this charity fighting so hard to retain what is a marginal activity. Their money would be better spent on their core activities.

robert ian williams
robert ian williams
11 years ago

We broke the “law” in the sixteenth century to survive as a Church…..the Agencies should be a wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.

However thay should not have become so dependent on state finance as they did 30 years ago.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x