Rights in Conflict over Religion and Homosexuality
A Pentecostal Christian couple have lost the right to be able to be foster parents because of their beliefs which meant that they could not tell a child they might foster, that homosexuality was an acceptable lifestyle.
Lord justice Munby and Mr justice Beatson at the High Court have ruled that the laws that protect people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation “should take precedence” over the right not to be discriminated against on religious grounds.
They have ruled that if children are placed with carers who object to homosexuality and same-sex relationships, “there may well be a conflict with the local authority’s duty to ‘safeguard and promote the welfare’ of looked-after children”.
The couple, who consider themselves to be moral people, had wanted to offer a loving home for a child in need of care. According to the BBC they said:
“We have been excluded because we have moral opinions based on our faith and we feel sidelined because we are Christians with normal, mainstream, Christian views on sexual ethics. We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing.”
For some, this is an important victory for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual rights to equality. For others this is discrimination against Christians with a common Christian moral belief. Should gay rights trump religious rights?
Editorial in the Church Times: www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=108996
Related stories in the Telegraph: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8353496/Foster-parent-ban-no-place-in-the-law-for-Christianity-High-Court-rules.html
Read the full ruling here: archive.equal-jus.eu/679/