UK Catholic adoption agency loses appeal, facing closure

Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds / Photo Credit: Mazur
Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds / Photo Credit: Mazur


A Catholic adoption charity in England is facing closure after losing its appeal against a law forcing them to place children with homosexual couples. 

Catholic Care, run by the Diocese of Leeds, argued it would have to give up its adoption service if it was not made exempt from the law. However their case has now been rejected by England’s Charity Tribunal.

“It is unfortunate that those who will suffer as a consequence of this ruling will be the most vulnerable children for whom Catholic Care has provided an excellent service for many years,” said Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds in response to the April 26 decision.
The diocese had told the tribunal that homosexual couples could get adoption services from local authorities and other voluntary agencies and said failure to secure the exemption would hit the voluntary donations which keep it afloat. They also argued that the law should respect Catholic belief in the same way that churches aren’t currently compelled to bless homosexual civil partnerships in England.

These arguments, though, were rejected by the tribunal.  It admitted that it would be “a loss to society” if the charity stopped its adoption service but added it had to balance that risk against the "detriment to same-sex couples and the detriment to society generally of permitting the discrimination proposed.”

Catholic Care had been seeking an exemption from the Sexual Orientation Regulations Act. It was introduced by the U.K. government in 2007 and requires all adoption agencies to consider homosexual couples as prospective parents. Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair said there was “no place” for discrimination in British society. Since then some Catholic agencies have closed while others have severed their links with the Church in order to stay open.

Catholic Care will now consider whether or not to continue its legal fight. The charity has been in existence for over 100 years.

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