LONDON, Mon Feb 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A UK Christian couple fighting their local council adoption panel over a decision to bar them from providing foster care because of their faith and their unwillingness to affirm homosexuality, have lost their appeal to the High Court in London.
In February 2008, Eunice and Owen Johns of Derby filed suit against Derby City Council when they were refused for fostering because they said they would not talk to children about homosexuality as though it were an acceptable “lifestyle,” and that they would insist that children in their care accompany the family to church on Sundays.
In November 2010 both parties jointly asked the Court to rule on whether the Johns were able to foster children, or whether they could be excluded from doing so under equality law because of their Christian beliefs.
According to the Daily Mail, Lord Justice Munby and Mr. Justice Beatson ruled that laws protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation “should take precedence” over the right not to be discriminated against on religious grounds.
In their ruling, the judges stated, “That there is a tension between the equality provisions concerning religious discrimination and those concerning sexual orientation. Yet, as regards fostering, the equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence.”
“A local authority can require positive attitudes to be demonstrated towards homosexuality,” they wrote.
Outside the Royal Courts of Justice today the Pentecostal Christian couple, who have acted as foster parents to nearly 20 children, told reporters, “All we wanted was to offer a loving home to a child in need. We have a good track record as foster parents. But because we are Christians, with mainstream Christian views on sexual ethics, we are apparently unsuitable as foster parents.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams of the Christian Legal Centre, which is acting for the couple, said in a press release that the judgment means that Christians who hold orthodox Christian views on the family, marriage and sexuality will continue to face difficulties in the fostering and adoption process and the Courts will not intervene to stop this from happening.
“Eunice and Owen Johns have been humiliated and sidelined and told by a Government body (the Equalities and Human Rights Commission) that their mainstream Christian views might “infect” children. They have also effectively been told by British Judges that their views may harm children,” Williams said.
“What has happened to the Johns is part of a wider trend seen in recent years,” Williams further remarked.
“The law has been increasingly interpreted by Judges in a way which favours homosexual rights over freedom of conscience. Significant areas of public life are now becoming out of bounds to Christians who do not want to compromise their beliefs. If Christian morals are harmful to children and unacceptable to the State, then how many years do we have before natural children start being taken away from Christians?”
Derby City Council
Saxon House, Heritage Gate, Friary Street, Derby, DE1 1AN
Phone: 01332 293 111
Fax: 01332 255 121