UK Appeals Court: Christian adoption agency cannot refuse placements with same-sex couples when it works on behalf of local government authorities

Sunday, July 12, 2020

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent (Worthy News) - A UK Appeals Court has ruled that, while it is working with government authorities, a Christian adoption and foster care agency cannot refuse to place children with same-sex couples, the Christian Post reports. The Court ruled Tuesday that the Cornerstone Adoption and Fostering Service can recruit carers who identify as evangelical, provided it does not legally require them to be heterosexual.

Giving the ruling, Justice Julian Knowles of the High Court of England and Wales said that although the Equality Act of 2010 allows religious organizations to apply rules concerning sexual orientation, this exception does not apply to Cornerstone because it recruits foster and adoptive parents on behalf of local government authorities.

Cornerstone had filed suit last year, after the UK Office for Standards in Children’s Services determined the agency’s requirement that applicant parents be evangelical Christians who abide by its statement of faith was discriminatory.

The Appeals Court said Cornerstone's policy violates Article 14 read with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights because it “requires carer applicants to be heterosexual.” Justice Knowles wrote in his ruling: “The policy unlawfully discriminates, directly or indirectly, against gay men and lesbians. The disapplication of the general exemption in [the Equality Act] applies because Cornerstone performs functions on behalf of public authorities pursuant to contract.”

Lawyers representing the agency are considering filing an appeal to the UK Supreme Court, the Christian Post reported.