Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Prohibiting sex offenders from adoption ‘discriminatory’ says report

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

LONDON, December 1, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A “blanket ban” on convicted sex-offenders adopting children is discriminatory, says a report from Helen Reece of the London School of Economics. Reece, a family law expert, has said that each case should be examined separately “on its merits.”

“Sex offenders shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush,” Reece said. “People need to be carefully screened for adoption and fostering, but each case should be taken on its merits.

“There shouldn’t be blanket rules. What somebody has done before is not necessarily what he or she will do again. When someone has served a sentence, as far as you can, you should treat them the same as anyone else.”

The report was published in the latest edition of Child and Family Law Quarterly.

Reece bases her argument on court challenges that have overturned “blanket bans” on unmarried, cohabiting couples adopting. She pointed to the 2008 case, heard in the House of Lords, which decided that cohabiting couples were being discriminated against by adoption rules. Reece pointed out that cohabiting couples are allowed to adopt even though statistically they have a high rate of break-ups that tend to harm children emotionally and psychologically.

“If we believe that blanket bans are an effective and legitimate means to protect children then we should no more allow cohabiting couples to adopt or foster than convicted sex offenders,” she said.

Currently, there are very few remaining “blanket” restrictions on adoption and fostering in Britain. Single people, unmarried cohabiting couples and homosexual singles can all adopt.

Recently, however, some individuals have been refused because of their traditional religious beliefs, a category not officially banned. In 2008, a Christian couple in Somerset, Eunice and Owen Johns, were refused for fostering because they would not teach their foster children that homosexuality is acceptable. Their local adoption authority was also reportedly “upset” that the couple insisted that children in their care would be required to accompany the family to church on Sundays.

This year, a Christian pediatrician, Sheila Matthews, applied to have her case heard at the European Court of Justice after she had been removed from the adoption panel of the Northamptonshire County Council for expressing her view that homosexual adoption is not in the best interests of the child.

In the case of Ian Wathey and Craig Faunch, two homosexual men who were charged with sexually molesting the boys in their care, the council who gave them the children admitted that a “politically correct” prejudice in favor of homosexuals in adoption was in play.

In an inquiry, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council employees said that despite growing reservations by staff and complaints from the mother of two of the boys, the two men were treated by the authorities as “trophy carers” because of their status as homosexuals. The two men were regarded as beyond scrutiny and “the fear of being discriminatory” lead the council to “fail to discriminate between the appropriate and the abusive.”

The Daily Telegraph quoted one social worker who told the inquiry, “you didn’t want to be seen discriminating against a same-sex couple.”

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