News

Scottish Catholic charity given until April to lift its illegal ban on gay adoptions

A COMPLAINT lodged against a Catholic adoption agency by the National Secular Society has resulted in a warning by the Charity Regulator in Scotland that it will lose its charitable status if it refuses to lift its ban on applications from gay couples.

gay-adoption41

According to the NSS, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has ruled that St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow is directly discriminating against gay people by excluding them from becoming adopters.

Alistair McBay, spokesperson in Scotland for the National Secular Society, said:

After the ruling in England by the Charity Commission, backed by the courts, that Catholic adoption agencies there were in breach of the Equality Act by denying their services to gay couples, it is logical that the Scottish charity regulator has reached the same decision about St Margaret’s.

He added:

Sectarian decision-making has no place in adoption arrangements, and the regulator also found that St Margaret’s was discriminating against non-Catholic couples who applied to adopt. This kind of crude discrimination is no longer acceptable in our society – and that goes double where the discrimination is, in effect, being largely financed by the public purse.

Arguably more important than depriving gay couples of adoption is that St Margaret’s policy restricts the pool of adoptive parents, including gay parents, some of whom the Regulator acknowledges have special skills that would be especially appropriate with hard-to-place children.

McBay continued:

If St Margaret’s wishes to continue to provide services, it must remove these provisions from its constitution – this will be in the children’s best interests. In England, some of the Catholic agencies complied and are now providing their services to everyone without prejudice. Those doing so have generally been faced with the Catholic Church heartlessly withdrawing its co-operation and forcing them to break their link with the Church. Other agencies felt that they could not comply and have closed.

We hope that St Margaret’s will continue to fulfil its valuable role, even if it has to sever its connection with the Catholic Church. We certainly hope it will not take the same route as Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) which pursued a long, expensive and, in the end, fruitless appeal with the Charity Commission. The charity’s funds can be better spent in the interests of children than being wasted in legal fees to delay the inevitable.

The BBC quotes the Scottish Charity Regulator’s head of registration, Martin Tyson, as saying:

We acknowledge the valuable service provided by this charity, but the fact is that all charities must comply with the law, including the Equality Act 2010. Where we find this is not the case, we have a duty to act.

He added:

We have carefully considered the details of this case, and the legal position is clear – the charity must take steps so that it does not discriminate unlawfully and can pass the charity test.

He said:

We hope that the charity will respond positively and take the necessary action so that it remains in the Scottish Charity Register.

The regulator has issued a direction to St Margaret’s, instructing it to amend its procedures and assessment criteria to meet the requirements of the Equality Act. It has until April 22, 2013 to do so or risk losing its charitable status.

The law allows same sex couples in the UK to adopt children. The Adoption and Children Act of 2002 supports all couples’ application to adopt regardless of their sexual orientation or their marital status.

Other obstacles were removed by the Equality Act 2010 which prevents adoption agencies from discriminating against same sex couples.

Hat tip: Macinesker, Ian, BarrieJohn

27 Responses to “Scottish Catholic charity given until April to lift its illegal ban on gay adoptions”

  1. tony e says:

    Is it me or is it a bit cheeky that this segment of the worlds’ richest organisation claims charitable status?

  2. barriejohn says:

    Perhaps they could just make the necessary modifications to their “absolute moral and natural laws”, as they have elsewhere:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/catholic-hospital-argues-_n_2534383.html?ir=Religion&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008

  3. tony e says:

    barriejohn,

    Oh the irony, cheers for the link.

  4. JohnMWhite says:

    I wonder when discriminating against gay people will become less important than helping children for the Catholic Church. I’d ask them but these moral cowards never respond to questions or criticism. They only ever want a one-way conversation.

  5. barreijoihn says:

    ‘Recent Comments’ seems to be completely up the creek now!

  6. barriejohn says:

    ‘Recent Comments’ seems to be completely up the creek now!

  7. Trevor Blake says:

    Perhaps St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow is holding out for the religious liberty to carry out God’s commandment in Psalm 137:9. Go on, give it a look.

  8. Alistair says:

    80% of St Margaret’s funding comes from local authorities. And there is another Catholic adoption charity, St Andrew’s Children’s Society in Edinburgh, which invites applications from prospective parents who are in a same-sex relationships. See http://www.standrews-children.org.uk/adoption.htm# and look at the ‘gender’ option under its Criteria of Assessment. So if one can do it…..

  9. AgentCormac says:

    OT, I’m afraid – but if ever find yourself arguing with creationists and want proof that evolution is a verifiable fact, not a ‘theory’, then this article could well come in handy.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21178718

  10. remigius says:

    Ah, but what about the really important news.

    New frocks. FABULOUS!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2267042/Vicars-Bristol-model-latest-ecclesiastical-wear.html

  11. barriejohn says:

    OT, but this is so funny:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2267731/Charlie-Morgan-kicked-Eden-Hazard-Twitter-sensation-jokers-spread-comedy-virals-web.html

    Someone said that they should have sent Torres because he’d have missed him!

  12. barriejohn says:

    I saw that as well, Remigius!

  13. AgentCormac says:

    Remigius

    Don’t they look so, well…. modern? So in touch? So relevant? Imbeciles. (And an idiot is, of course, still an idiot, no matter what you dress him (or her) up in.)

  14. Matt Westwood says:

    Women vicars … They’ll be getting the sexton to wallpaper the belfry with light pastel colours, and there’ll be throws over all the pews, and the hassocks will be teddy-bear shapes and amusing-cat-caricature shape next. Oh, and a mirror in the pulpit.

  15. Buffy says:

    Screams of persecution in 3..2..1

  16. barriejohn says:

    More news from America:

    http://03409bc.netsolhost.com/snapwisconsin/2013/01/25/ruling-major-victory-for-victimsurvivors-in-milwaukee-archdiocese-bankruptcy/

    Ruling major victory for victim/survivors in Milwaukee Archdiocese bankruptcy

    Archdiocese says it has no funds to compensate victims after paying 9 million dollars to lawyers and consultants

    When asked if the archdiocese has finally turned over criminal evidence sought by police in current child sex abuse investigation, church’s lead lawyer replies: “sort of”

  17. barriejohn says:

    Read this: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/01/24/catholic-charities-at-risk-after-adoption-agency-ruled-to-be-discriminating/

    Neil Addison of the Thomas More Legal Centre said the regulator threatening to remove the agency from the charities’ register was “surprising”.

    He said: “There is an exemption in the Equality Act for charities. If what they’re doing is breaking the Equality Act there is a procedure for challenging it, for saying what they’re doing is unlawful.

    “It’s a gross overreaction. It’s like closing down an entire hospital because one small section is in breach of health and safety.

    “If they’re right, then the exemption in the Equality Act is worthless, because if you break the Act then you are not a charity. It’s a completely circular argument.”

    Mr Addison also said that the ruling had implications for other areas of equality law, including the Government’s “quadruple lock” protecting religious groups in the event of gay marriage.

    “It’s going to stop all sorts of Catholic charities which are arguably in breach of the Equality Act. If you apply this logic, what’s to stop the regulator refusing to register a church or diocese as a charity?

    “Oh, Happy Day!”

  18. Tom80 says:

    McBay continued:
    If St Margaret’s wishes to continue to provide services, it must remove these provisions from its constitution – this will be in the children’s best interests. In England, some of the Catholic agencies complied and are now providing their services to everyone without prejudice. Those doing so have generally been faced with the Catholic Church heartlessly withdrawing its co-operation and forcing them to break their link with the Church.

    Does he really expect the Catholic Church to continue to support a charity which is being forced to place Children in situations which would be against the beliefs of the Church? I presume that most of the money to run the Agency comes from public funds and in the past the Catholic church has also contributed. Would the NSC contribute to a Catholic charity?.. I think not.

    Perhaps the NSC should arrange collections and contribute to the charity and make up any financial shortfall should the Catholic church withdraw its support.

  19. Angela_K says:

    Tom80. Posting your usual nonsense again. It is exactly because this agency receives Government funding that it should comply with the law. OK, some funding comes from catholic sources but they have generous tax exemptions and an obscene amount of wealth that they are reluctant to share. And, as is usual with religions, dogma is more important than helping the vulnerable and needy.

  20. Tom80 says:

    As the agency receives public money then It will have to comply with the law-fair enough-But Why is it expected that Catholics should give money to a Charity that is against their beliefs but not anyone else? I would not expect non Catholics to give to CAFOD. Would Anela_K give to a Catholic Charity..no because it’s against her belief and that’s fair enough.
    Why then should I give to an adotion agency that promotes a program against my beliefs? In most Catholic diocese the Adotion agencies appealed to Individuals.I had a collection box which was emptied every year and when the agency in my diocese changed to comply with the legislation and dissasociated itself from the Church I gave the Box back as the agency was being forcred to do something against my belief.

  21. Broga says:

    Tom80: The RC Church seems to have beliefs that support lying, thieving, cheating, protecting paedophiles, financial corruption, insisting on its priests following the impossible and unatural perversion of celibacy, torturing terminally ill people in great pain by insisting they keep on living, filling an overcrowded planet with more people when it is already choked with humans, cannibalism, spreading Aids by lying about the safety of condoms and weird superstitions.

    I don’t know why they should hesitate to arrange for a child without parents to enter a loving home. Or maybe that’s because they hate people to be happy. Inflicting misery and deprivation seems to be their primary role.

  22. Daz says:

    Tom80

    If you take government money (that is my money), then you play by the government’s rules.

    If you don’t wish to play by those rules—maybe you prefer the RCC’s rules—then all you have to do is stop taking my money.

    This is hardly the ethical equivalent of rocket surgery.

  23. Tom80 says:

    @Daz:

    I quite agree but if the adotion agencies had stopped taking public money and relied on the Catholic Church to provide All finance they would still have been forced to place children with same sex couples to comply with the law,which is against Catholic beliefs. I know of no organisation or person which would give money to another orgsnisation which does something that is against their belief.Would you?

    The point I am trying to make is that Mr McBay seems to want Catholics to continue to support the Agency but on His terms.I ask the question why should they?

  24. Daz says:

    Tom80

    That’s up to Catholics, not McBay. He might hope that the church will act morally, but he’s not forcing them to do so. (See below.)

    I know of no organisation or person which would give money to another orgsnisation which does something that is against their belief.Would you?

    Well, now, I base my support or lack thereof on my perception of actual, demonstrable good or harm being done, not on whether an undemonstrable being which is groundlessly alleged to be worthy of my obedience has been alleged to have expressed an opinion on the matter, based, apparently, merely on its personal liking or distaste toward something, not on any perceivable inherent goodness or badness of that thing.

    Needless discrimination causes needless and demonstrable harm, and is therefore immoral. If the Catholic church wishes to act immorally by promoting such discrimination and by withdrawing support for those who don’t discriminate, then so be it. That’s their right, as long as they don’t break any actual laws. ‘Scuse me if I join Mcbay in calling them heartless for doing so, though. That’s my right.