“It is the placement of children that is done on behalf of local authorities,” she said.
“This distinction is absolutely vital since equality law permits religious organizations to uphold their views on sexual ethics in the way they work. Without this exception, thousands of religious groups would have been outlawed. We are entitled to rely on the same exception.”
Catholic adoption agencies in England were forced to close after the government refused to grant them an exemption in 2007 to regulations requiring agencies to place children with same-sex couples if they wished to continue to work with local authorities.
Evangelical Christians comprise around 3% of the U.K. population of 67 million, while Catholics account for roughly 10%.
Commenting on the Court of Appeal decision on Sept. 24, Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute, a non-denominational Christian charity, said: “It’s right to fight discrimination. And evangelical Christians, though much maligned, have a good track record of welcoming people marginalized by the rest of society.”
“But the law and language of discrimination is in danger of being distorted beyond recognition. What the court has done today, in the name of opposing discrimination, is actually to support discrimination by a powerful state regulator against a small voluntary group.”
He continued: “Today’s Court of Appeal judgment claims ‘religious doctrine does not stand still’ and implies a role for Ofsted and the Equality Act in changing it.”
“This shocking defense of state overreach in religious matters fundamentally misunderstands the nature of Christianity. Hundreds of millions of Christians around the world believe the Bible to be the unchanging and ever-relevant word of God.”
He added: “No gay carers were ever discriminated against by Cornerstone so this ruling does not in any sense ‘right a wrong.’ Instead, Cornerstone is being punished for holding the ‘wrong beliefs.’ Even worse, it is being told what it should believe instead. This is not what equality and human rights law are meant to be about.”
“The Court of Appeal did confirm that Cornerstone suffered a significant interference with its human right to manifest its religious beliefs. We hope there will be an opportunity, in due course, for the Supreme Court to engage further with this and strike a fairer balance of competing rights.”