Last week in England the Charity Commission rejected a plea from Catholic Care, a Leeds based adoption group, to restrict adoption to only heterosexual couples. “Catholic Care sought an exclusion from the 2007 sexual orientation regulations and began legal action to change its constitution so it could continue helping married couples only. The commission initially refused to give its consent, but the charity won the right to appeal against its decision.”
In the appeal, Catholic Care relied on a statement of the Pope from 2003 which stated in part “… the absence of sexual complementarity in these (homosexual) unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such person … Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development,” to suggest that allowing same-sex couples to adopt children would conflict with “the tenets of the church”. However, the charity commission found that this statement was social commentary rather than doctrine.
Andrew Hind, the chief executive of the Charity Commission said “In certain circumstances, it is not against the law for charities to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. However, 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. We have concluded that in this case the reasons Catholic Care have set out do not justify their wish to discriminate.”