In a decision that may end decades of Catholic adoption services, a British Charity Tribunal has ruled that Catholic adoption agencies will be breaking the law if they decline to place children with homosexual couples.
The agencies find homes for hundreds of children each year but may be forced to close. One diocese has already said it is likely to close its adoption charities, the Daily Mail reports.
The Labour Party implemented sexual orientation anti-discrimination rules in a 2007 bill.
According to the Daily Mail, the Catholic Care charity, run by the Diocese of Leeds, said the right to discriminate against homosexual couples was “a principle of Catholic organization.”
Tribunal president Alison McKenna ruled that Catholic Care was “a well-respected voluntary adoption agency which has made a significant contribution to the provision of adoption services in this country and facilitated many successful adoption placements.”
However, she joined two colleagues in ruling that its non-compliance with anti-discrimination law was unlawful.
After the Charity Tribunal ruled against the charity, a diocesan spokesman said that it “seems likely” that the charities will need to close their adoption services and one of their “flagship” services will be lost. The spokesman said the charities cannot provide unrestricted services without breaching their obligations to act according to Catholic teaching.
“We are concerned about the possible impact this will have on potential adoptive parents and children,” the spokesman added.
The government's regulations have already forced most of the 11 Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales to sever their ties with the Church or close.