By Hilary White

LONDON, November 20, 2008 ( – Despite a court order to reconsider its former decision, the Newham county council in east London has again refused permission for a local couple to adopt the baby sister of their previously adopted son. The decision came in spite of a court ruling that called the original refusal “bizarre” and a review panel report that described the couple as “strong, caring, sensitive, supportive and resourceful.”

The couple, identified only as “Mr. and Mrs. A,” were previously rebuffed in their attempt to adopt the girl after Mr. A admitted to having once spanked their adopted son for swearing. Social workers specified Mr. A’s “attitude to corporal punishment” as the reason for the refusal.

Under UK law it is legal for parents to use reasonable corporal punishment. The couple’s barrister had argued in court that the council’s decision violated the family’s human rights, and that of their son who would now grow up without his biological sister. The couple are experienced foster parents and have taken in children from all over London.

Mr. Justice Bennett agreed, ruling that the council’s decision “bordered on the bizarre,” was “unreasonable” and “in dangerous territory.”

The Christian Institute, a Christian lobbying and education group, reports that friends of the family have accused the council of having acted out of “spite” because of the publicity the case has attracted. The couple has indicated their intention to continue to appeal to the courts to reunite the two children.

The case of Mr. and Mrs. A is the latest in a series of scandals in which Britain’s local authorities have been found to be prejudicial against traditionally-minded and Christian families.

In 2007, British news was awash with reports that a Christian couple in Somerset, UK, who had cared for needy foster children for many years, had been struck off the foster parents list because they refused to promote the homosexual lifestyle to their foster child. After a massive public outcry, the council was forced to back down.

Early in 2008, a council in Derby was being sued by Eunice and Owen Johns because they were turned down as foster parents because they refused to talk to children about homosexuality as though it were an acceptable “lifestyle.” The adoption panel admitted in internal documents that Mr. and Mrs. Johns of Oakwood might have grounds to feel that they had been “discriminated against on religious grounds.”

To contact Newham County Council:

Children and Young People’s Services
Executive Director: Kim Bromley-Derry
Broadway House
High Street
E15 1AJ
Phone: 0208 430 2000
Fax: 0208 430 1066.

See related coverage:

Couple Rejected as Adoptive Parents over Support for Spanking

Court Overrules “Bizarre” Decision against Spanking Couple

Another UK Couple Rejected for Fostering Children over Religious Beliefs on Homosexuality

Christian Couple no Longer Required to Promote Homosexuality in Fostering Children