BY Ian Dunn | March 6 | comments icon 7 COMMENTS     print icon print


Disappointment as regulator upholds ruling that threatens Scottish Catholic adoption society

St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow has lost its appeal with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator over its right not to place children with homosexual couples

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has upheld a ruling that threatens to strip St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow of charitable status because the Catholic adoption agency will not place children with homosexual couples.

The OSCR ruled in January this year that St Margaret’s, one of the last Catholic adoption agencies in the UK, failed the charity test—because it was ruled to be in breach of the Equality Act 2010—and the agency appealed.

On Tuesday, the OSCR upheld its original view that St Margaret’s failed the charity test because it discriminated unlawfully on grounds of religion or belief and sexual orientation. Even though the Scottish Government had called for St Margaret’s to be allowed to continue operating according to Church teaching, the regulator did not change its view, instead confirming in a report ‘the decision to direct the charity to meet the charity test’ or lose it charitable status from April 22.

A spokesman for St Margaret’s told the SCO today that everyone involved with the adoption agency was disappointed at the decision but had not given up hope as the charity has the right to appeal the decision to the Scottish Charity Appeals Panel.

“We will consult our lawyers,” he said. “In the meantime St Margaret’s remains open for business.”


Comments - 7 Responses

  1. Andrew Walker says:

    This is an example of one of the unintended consequences of bad law. Should we tackle this problem from another angle? Surely birth parents have a basic human right in stipulating the manner of upbringing of their child being placed for adoption? I believe the 1948 Children Act gave parents the right to have their children looked after by families of the same religious persuasion as themselves (foster/adoption care). This was paramount in all considerations of substitute care placements, and caring agencies had to respect and adhere to such principles. Sometimes we throw the baby out with the bathwater (excuse the pun). We should have present-day laws which respect this fundamental principle of birth parent(s)’ rights, and have placement agencies which respond accordingly. St Margaret’s should be allowed to continue and specialise by providing this choice of up-bringing for birth parents’ children. If this requires new law, then let’s demand this of our politicians. There seems to be much support at a political level for St Margaret’s and this may be one way to circumvent this bad equality law. Other agencies can respond to LGBT placement requests (or eg other religious persuasions such as Muslim children).

  2. Richard says:

    Just an idea. They could perhaps follow the law on this one? Give into Caesar what is Caesar’s etc

  3. Mrs McGrory says:

    Let them do their worst, I am sure the RC people of Scotland will give this adoption service all the financial help that is required… after all it is [the children’s] souls that are most important, and these people don’t care about that. We are a people of Faith and we are going to be tested by the look of things.

  4. Chris Harrison says:

    This battle is silly. Why is St Margaret’s defying the law? St Andrew’s in Edinburgh changed four years ago and is still there and placing even more children as a result of considering same-sex couples. We know our agencies have accepted single gay men and women in the past, so what is the problem? I would have thought after the Cardinal O’Brien scandal we could have moved on. Our faith has just become a vehicle for prejudice against gay people.

  5. Andrew Walker says:

    Interesting views also being expressed in England in response to Lords’ report on Child Care and Adoption Bill 2013 going through parliament, with esp ref to birth culture, religion and ethnicity of child being respected in adoption/foster placements:

    RT @CathyAshley Must be amended to incl #adoption #welfare checklist & require to consider child’s race+culture+language+religion #SWSCmedia

    We need to open up this debate in Scotland in support of St Margaret’s and its excellent work over many years with thousands of children. Is this all to be lost…”at a stroke”? Surely not!

  6. Andrew Walker says:

    Another agency seems to be active in seeking placements for parent(s) seeking LGBT placements:

    Care Visions Fostering

    It’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Adoption and Fostering Week. Anyone can foster and 1 million LGBT people in the UK may have the potential to foster a child. Get in touch if you’ve thought about fostering, or share if you know anyone who could be a potential foster carer.

    Why is all this equality nonsense leading to possible closure of St Margaret’s? Surely different agencies can specialise in the type of work they do. Choice is available in this highly skilled and professional area of work with placing children and young people. What about the paramount principle of “acting in the best interests of the welfare of the child” enshrined in law? Birth parents are increasingly encouraged to maintain links with child (origins/identity/culture) and should have a say too in placement considerations (LGBT/muslim/jew/catholic/ch of scot or whatever). Let’s get real: if you want a consultant orthopaedic surgeon you don’t see a psychiatrist; if you want a family law solicitor you don’t see a solicitor specialising in corporate law; and etc. St Margaret’s is proud of its distinguished history, and should be allowed to continue offering a service for certain categories of placement needs, respecting parent/child needs. LGBT placement requests can be referred elsewhere, as above.

  7. Jo says:

    What if children want a mum and a dad? Shall we label them homophobes too?

    The whole approach to children, small people in their own right, as possessions to which people have a right of access, is, in itself, quite obscene.

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