March 8, 2013
Scotland Strips Christian Adoption Agency of Charity Status
Charity regulator: Catholic agency 'does not provide public benefit because [it] involves unlawful discrimination.'
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has declared that one adoption agency with a policy "discriminating" against non-Catholic families—and same-sex couples in particular—is operating in breach of Scotland's equality law.
According to a report from the OSCR, St. Margaret's Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow cannot be considered a charity because its policies involve "unlawful discrimination, which causes detriment to the public and to particular groups of people, the effect of which outweighs the other positive effects of the charity’s work."
The independent, Catholic adoption agency's policy states that applicants should "have been married for at least two years"—a policy that prompted the National Secular Society (NSS) to file a discrimination complaint in 2012.
Alistair McBay, NSS Spokesman for Scotland, said he hopes the OSCR's decision will lead St. Margaret to change its policies and "put the best interests of children first, as many other Catholic adoption agencies have done, and comply with the law by widening the pool of prospective parents to include same-sex couples."
St. Margaret's now has the option to change its policy to comply with equality law or appeal the OSCR's decision.
CT has extensive coverage on the topic of adoption, and previously explored whether or not Christian adoption agencies should stop child placement programs if they are required to work with same-sex couples.