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English Catholic agency loses appeal on same-sex adoption requirement

Catholic World News - August 19, 2010

An English Catholic adoption agency has lost its legal appeal against new rules requiring equal treatment for same-sex couples. The ruling will likely cause the closing of England’s remaining Catholic adoption agency.

Catholic Care, which has provided adoption services for over 100 years, had challenged regulations requiring all adoption agencies to place children with homosexual couples. While other Church-administered agencies bowed out of adoption services when the the Equality Act went into effect in December 2009, Catholic Care lodged a legal appeal, claiming exemption from the same-sex adoption on the grounds of religious principle.

Earlier this year, the High Court had sided with Catholic Care, ordering the Charity Commission to give the Catholic agency an opportunity to justify its policies.

After reconsidering the case, however, the Charity Commission ruled that the Catholic agency is legally obliged to place children with homosexual couples. Andew Hind, the head of the commission, explained that “because the prohibition on such discrimination is a fundamental principle of human rights law, such discrimination can only be permitted in the most compelling circumstances.” He added: “We have concluded that in this case the reasons Catholic Care have set out do not justify their wish to discriminate.”

Catholic Care issued a statement indicating that it was “very disappointed” with the decision. The group “will now consider whether there is any one way in which the charity can continue to support families seeking to adopt children in need,” the statement said.

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