Britain’s High Court has allowed a Catholic adoption charity to appeal for an exemption from sexual orientation rules that would force it to close. The ruling was praised for securing the freedom of charities and allowing Catholic agencies to continue their services.
Catholic Care, which serves the dioceses of Leeds, Middlesbrough and Hallam in South Yorkshire, was the last Catholic adoption agency to continue to fight for its continued operation. The laws required adoption agencies to place children with homosexual couples and forced Catholic agencies to close or disaffiliate from the Church.
The Charity Commission had rejected Catholic Care’s attempt to secure an exemption, but on Wednesday a High Court Judge allowed the appeal, the Telegraph reports.
Bishop of Leeds Arthur Roche said in a statement that the court confirmed Catholic Care’s reading of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and agreed that the exemptions of Regulation 18 can apply to “any charity subject to its being in the public interest.”
“We look forward to producing evidence to the Charity Commission to support the position that we have consistently taken through this process that without being able to use this exemption children without families would be seriously disadvantaged,” he continued.
“Catholic Care has been providing specialist adoption services for over 100 years,” the bishop explained, saying hundreds of “some of the most vulnerable children” have been helped through the recruitment, evaluation and support for prospective adoptive parents.
“The judgment today will help in our determination to continue to provide this invaluable service to benefit children, families and communities.”
In a separate comment, Caritas Social Action in Leeds said that the High Court “upheld the legitimate freedom of charities to organize themselves in such a way that their activities reflect their religious ethos when justified in the public benefit.”
This was an “extremely important” principle to uphold concerning the common good, CSA said.