There was a news report in the paper earlier this week about a Catholic adoption agency that was seeking to deny its services to same-sex couples. Catholic Care is asking the judge, sitting in the Upper Tribunal in London to sanction a change to its charitable objectives so that it can lawfully turn away same-sex couple as prospective adopters. However, lawyers for the Charity Commission argue that drawing a distinction between gay and heterosexual couple would amount to a breach of the Equality Act 2011 and a violation of the ban on discrimination contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Now I appreciate this a very sensitive issue, and there will no doubt be entrenched positions being taken on all sides. It's not the first time - and certainly not the last - that Christian traditions and beliefs have come into conflict with the minutiae of equality and human rights laws. According to a spokesperson from Catholic Care, the consequence of the court finding against it will be a cessation of its services to both gay and heterosexual couples.
I want to make clear that, personally, I have no issue with the Catholic Church or it's traditions and beliefs. I am neither for or against same-sex couples adopting children; the key criteria for me is that the child's interests and welfare is put first and foremost. If the appropriate experts believe that a child would be better off in a safe and loving home than remaining indefinitely in the care of the local authority, then any consideration about same-sex or heterosexual couples becomes irrelevant.
I do feel quite strongly in this case that the Charity Commission's focus on the rights of same-sex couples, rather than the children in need of adoption, is tantamount to putting the interests of the helper before those of the helpless.
I wonder what Jesus would think if He was here today?