Monday, 3 February 2014

Victory for St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society and vindication of Neil Addison's legal advice

In June 2009, Neil Addison of the Thomas More Legal Centre and Religion Law Blog, argued that it was not surprising that Catholic Adoption Agencies had lost their case before the Charities Tribunal because they were using an ineffective legal argument. (See: Catholic Adoption Agencies lose case) The legal defeat led to Catholic agencies either giving up adoption work or continuing with the work, becoming a non-Catholic agency, and being open to placing children with same-sex couples.

Neil has constantly argued that Catholic adoption agencies should make a case based on adherence to their constitution in which they assert that all of their activities (not just adoption) have to be conducted in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church (not just on the question of same-sex unions but on any moral question, including, for example unmarried couples.) This, he has always argued, would fit the exemption for Charities under reg 18 of the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007.

Neil has been rather like a voice crying in the wilderness over the years despite the fact that he has consistently offered advice on what he has always claimed would be a better legal route than referring specifically to adoption and heterosexual couples which would be directly, explicitly and obviously discriminatory in legal terms.

It is therefore quite reasonable for him to find the recent decision concerning the St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society a vindication of the advice that he has repeatedly given.

See also his November 2012 post Catholic Care v Charity Commission (4) with further links.
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