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English court rules Catholic adoption agency must serve same-sex couples

November 02, 2012

A Catholic adoption agency representing three English dioceses has lost a 5-year court battle, and now faces a choice between placing children with homosexual couples or ending its adoption services.

An appeals court has upheld the ruling of the Charity Tribunal, which argued that Catholic Care had adopted a “divisive, capricious, and arbitrary” rule that excludes same-sex couples from adoption services. The court ruled that Catholic Care—which serves the dioceses of Leeds, Middlesbrough, and Hallam—had not demonstrated a convincing reason for that policy. In arguments before the court, a representative of the Charity Tribunal had insisted that the Catholic agency could not be allowed to restrict adoption services to male-female couples, because: “To do so would be to offer protection to the substance of the Church’s belief that homosexuality is sinful.”

A spokesman for Catholic Care said that the organization could be forced by the decision to end its adoption services. The result, he pointed out, would be a reduction in the number of children placed in adoptive homes, and thus a net loss for the children in need.


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  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Nov. 02, 2012 11:29 PM ET USA

    This court decision is a surprise? Civil partnerships are legal in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom’s Civil Partnership Act, gives same-sex couples civil partners the same rights and responsibilities of marriage, adoption included. That law was passed by politicians including the one, appointed as the Lord Chancellor, who is responsible for appointments to the judiciary. Would judges go against the politicians who made same-sex civil partnerships legal and who appointed them?

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Nov. 02, 2012 6:29 PM ET USA

    Why would a gay duo (non-Catholics) approach a Catholic agency for an adopted child, when there are many more non-Catholic agencies available from which to choose? Since the duo in question would not, by definition, be practicing Catholics, they could quite legitimately be refused by the agency without breaking the law. A Catholic agency exists to place Catholic children with Catholic parents, and gay duos are not Catholics.

  • Posted by: bruno - Nov. 02, 2012 6:23 PM ET USA

    I can't help be reminded of the two women before King Solomon both proclaiming their motherhood of a baby. Solomon bluffed them to find out who the real mother was...knowing that her love for the child would stir her to give him up rather than have him 'divided'. In this case, however, the King has sided with the pretender, and will 'cut the baby in two'...out of fairness, of course.