Monday November 1, 2010

UK Christian Couple Banned from Fostering Takes Fight to High Court

By Hilary White

LONDON, November 1, 2010 ( – A UK Christian couple is fighting their local government in the High Court over a decision to bar them from becoming foster parents because of their faith and their opposition to the homosexualist ideology. The case was heard by the High Court, sitting in Nottingham, today.

“It may not be long before local authorities decide that Christians cannot look after some of the most vulnerable children in our society, simply because they disapprove of homosexuality,” said a spokesman for the Christian Legal Centre, which is acting for the family.

In February 2008, Eunice and Owen Johns of Derby filed suit against their local council when they were refused for fostering because they said they would refuse to talk to children about homosexuality as though it were an acceptable “lifestyle.”

The Derby council adoption panel was also reportedly “upset” that the couple insisted that children in their care would be required to accompany the family to church on Sundays. The panel admitted in internal documents that the Johns might have grounds to feel that they had been “discriminated against on religious grounds.”

Acting for the family, the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) asked for a judicial review of the council’s decision, saying the couple were not “homophobic” but believed that sex outside marriage is wrong and that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman. In the past, the Johns have acted as foster parents to nearly 20 children.

The homosexualist lobby group Stonewall said that the needs of children must be placed above the “prejudices” of potential foster parents. Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, called the decision of the council “sensible” and said, “Many Christian parents of gay children will be shocked at Mr and Mrs Johns’ views which are more redolent of the 19th century than the 21st.”

But Andrea Minichiello-Williams, barrister and director of the CLC, said, “The Johns are a loving Christian couple, who have in the past, and would in the future, give a wonderful home to a vulnerable child.

“Research clearly establishes that children flourish best in a family with both a mother and father in a committed relationship, like the Johns have.

“One of the issues before the Court is whether Christian couples, who have traditional views on sexual ethics, are ‘fit and proper persons’ to foster – and, by implication, adopt.

“That the Court even needs to consider this is a remarkable reversal in the concept of the public good and the traditional definition of sexual morality.”

Read related LSN coverage:

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

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