A senior politician says he would be saddened if a Catholic charity with a children’s home in Bradford closes its adoption services arm because it refuses to accept same-sex couples.
The news comes as Bradford Council revealed that the number of children ‘looked after’ at the end of October was 894, with 91 of those up for adoption.
That figure has increased from 67 up for adoption in October, 2011.
The Charity Commission had rejected requests by Leeds-based Catholic Care to rewrite its charitable rules to allow it to refuse same-sex couples, based on the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic Care is the social care agency for the Diocese of Leeds. It has a registered adoption agency and children’s homes including one in Bradford.
Two court appeals against the Commission’s decision have been turned down, the latest one rejected last week, and the charity is now considering whether to launch another appeal. Equality legislation prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and the charity has not operated its adoption arm for three years since the battle began.
Bradford Council’s executive member for Children’s Services Councillor Ralph Berry said: “It saddens me that organisations with a strong record in the area feel unable to contribute to the system.
“We are in a diverse and plural society and children are being raised in same sex couples. I know of a number of same sex relationships that have provided superb loving and caring homes for children. There is no evidence that outcomes are worse at all.
“I can see no grounds for restricting same sex relationships from fostering or adopting and no welfare grounds.”
A spokesman for the charity refused to say how many couples they have helped in Bradford in previous years, but insisted it was not a big part of their business. The spokesman said: “The argument is not really about adoption as such. It is about whether we can hold our religious views or not. It is a clash between secular society and Christianity.
“It is trying to force liberalism on us. We are liberal on our own terms.
“Adoption is a decreasing part of our work. The children in homes will be fostered not adopted. People are making us out to be anti-gay or lesbian but we have services for them every month.”