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UK Couples Loses Right to Foster Care Over Views on Homosexuality

A UK court has ruled against an Evangelical Christian couple, Eunice and Owen Johns, who claimed they were discriminated against by their town council. The Derby city council rejected the couple's foster care application over their insistence on teaching the children that homosexuality is morally wrong.

The Guardian reports: Johns

The couple had hoped to foster five- to 10-year-olds.

The case was the latest to be brought by conservative evangelicals, led by the Christian Legal Centre, over their supporters' right to discriminate specifically against gay people and not be bound by equality regulations. All the cases have so far been lost.

Said the court in a statement: "No one is asserting that Christians (or, for that matter, Jews or Muslims) are not 'fit and proper' persons to foster or adopt. No one is seeking to de-legitimise Christianity or any other faith or belief. On the contrary, it is fundamental to our law and our way of life that everyone is equal before the law and equal as a human being ... entitled to dignity and respect. We are, however, entitled, to take judicial notice of the fact that, whereas the sharia is still understood in many places as making homosexuality a capital offence, the Church of England permits its clergy, so long as they remain celibate, to enter into civil partnerships. We live in this country in a democratic and pluralistic society, in a secular state not a theocracy."

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  1. i heard them on the news and they sounded like cliche angry REALLY ANGRY conservatives,when i heard them i totally understood the courts reservations

    Posted by: sal | Feb 28, 2011 7:23:28 PM


  2. I was going to lay it to rest, and I may very well be wrong about this, but going back and re-reading the article, it said the foster parents were going to take care of children between the ages of 5-10. Would moral disapproval of homosexuality even be applicable in this circumstance? These are pre-pubescent children who are most likely not aware of their sexuality.

    The lede is also confusing. The Guardian said they insisted on telling children that homosexuality was wrong, but then cites the parents as saying they wouldn't tell children that it is acceptable. There is a difference. One is active, the other is reactive.

    Posted by: Xtab | Feb 28, 2011 7:59:11 PM


  3. Wow! Go England! Does the UK welcome gay American immigrants who want to work and raise families there?

    Posted by: X | Feb 28, 2011 8:07:06 PM


  4. Foster children need to be raised with support and validation. Should a child be told that being Gay is a sin, and that child is in fact Gay, harm and damage is done to the child. PLEASE don't give children to people that raise them to hate themselves.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Feb 28, 2011 8:17:16 PM


  5. Woohoo! Does the UK welcome American immigrants who want to work and raise families in Britain? Particularly gay ones?

    I wouldn't want a family fostering a kid who would drive that kid to hate himself, commit risky behavior, or commit suicide -- and that's unfortunately the type of parents that evangelical Christians can turn out to be when they harbor the thoughts and lifestyle they have chosen. How ironic that the language they use to describe gays is what describes them.

    Posted by: X | Feb 28, 2011 10:07:13 PM


  6. @ XTAB: all children have sexuality but it's low key and not well defined, but more to the point, if you're (proto) gay and your told that only being het is acceptable, then you're going to suffer.

    Posted by: David R. | Feb 28, 2011 10:33:40 PM


  7. What if the foster parents were Jewish and wanted to teach the children about how wonderful and important Israel is? What if they believed in holistic medicine? What if they were against abortion in all cases (even rape and incest)? Its easy to point a finger and say homophobes can't be foster parents, but once you start screening based on values and not ability, its a very gray area.

    Besides which, for all the people patting the Brits on the back--dont forget that the Church of England is the OFFICIAL church of ENGLAND. They have a state religion. Currently, even if a church or synagoguge wants to host a same-sex civil union, they are legally NOT ALLOWED to.

    Stay in the USA, thanks.

    Posted by: dizzy spins | Feb 28, 2011 11:33:36 PM


  8. I say thank goodness those foster children where saved from being raised by hateful bigots!

    Posted by: Arturo Beeche | Feb 28, 2011 11:45:47 PM


  9. kind of a slippery slope when you tell parents what they can and can't teach their kids.

    Posted by: johnny underscore | Mar 1, 2011 1:20:23 AM


  10. As a libertarian, I recognize this clearly for what it is -- state punishment by meddling bureaucrats for unpopular views. It's no more justifiable than the previous bans on adoption by gay couples.

    However, I do hope that Christian conservatives take a good, hard look at this ruling and reconsider their own hate crusade. As this story clearly illustrates, the same government that can ban gay people from adopting and getting married -- and punish gay people for being different -- can do the same thing to Christian conservatives. It's in their best interests to pursue an agenda of freedom for *everybody*.

    Posted by: Brian Miller | Mar 1, 2011 7:55:12 AM


  11. I'm glad eugenics is so popular here on TR. When do we start forced the sterilizations. They did it in enlightened Sweden until the 1970s because some citizens were "too ugly" to have children. Yes, lets put the editor of Vogue in charge of people's reproductive rights!

    Posted by: anon | Mar 1, 2011 12:06:01 PM


  12. It's always disappointing how many members of other minorities are willing to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

    And it's disgusting how christianists pass the buck for their hateful, destructive behavior to their sky god. As Betty Bowers says, "Nothing personal, dear. God told me to hate you."

    Posted by: Bryan | Mar 1, 2011 1:32:23 PM


  13. No one has a "right" to be entrusted with other people's children, let alone without any regard to the well-being of those children.

    But that's not what you're arguing. You're arguing that it's acceptable for the state to declare that someone is an unfit parent due to his or her religious beliefs -- a position that's objectively identical to the state's prior (also wrong) declaration that a gay parent is defacto unfit to be a parent.

    If you're going to screen parents based on controversial or unpopular beliefs, every single one will fail, and kids will just get to grow up in an orphanage.

    Posted by: Brian Miller | Mar 1, 2011 7:24:42 PM


  14. "Besides which, for all the people patting the Brits on the back--dont forget that the Church of England is the OFFICIAL church of ENGLAND. They have a state religion."

    Nominally, yes, that is true - but if you compare the UK and the US, I wonder how much influence comparatively the Christian church(es) wield over political decisions at a local, state and federal level - both Republican and some Democrats. We only have to look at the Christian/evangelical rhetoric that is used by US politicians and lapped up by their voters, not to mention the huge bankrolling of (and, thus, control of) American politicians by churches of various denominations in, I'm sad to say, not just the rabid bible belt states.

    We can make a huge deal about separation of church and state, but how it works in practice is the most important thing - and it ceased "to work" in the US a long time ago.

    It's not for nothing that the Pope was bemoaning the increasing secularism of the UK - and long may that process continue! If UK politicians came out with all the Christian bulls**t that some US congressmen and senators do, they'd be looked at as a nutjob by the average man/woman in the UK street.

    Posted by: Hmm... Let's look at the facts and stop slapping ourselves on the back for a second! | Mar 19, 2011 8:52:06 AM


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