Catholic Care considers appeal against Charity Commission over gay adoption

By Kaye Wiggins, Third Sector Online, 24 August 2010

Charity mulls challenge after regulator reaffirms decision that it cannot restrict its adoption services to heterosexual couples

Social care charity Catholic Care is considering an appeal against the Charity Commission’s decision to prevent it from changing its objects in order to stop gay people from using its adoption services.

The commission announced last week that it had reaffirmed its original decision not to allow the charity to restrict its services to heterosexual prospective parents.

The regulator had been asked by the High Court to review the decision it made in December 2008 that the charity could not discriminate in this way.

Benjamin James, a partner at law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, which is representing the charity, said Catholic Care was considering whether to appeal against the decision.

He said if it decided to appeal, the charity could ask the Attorney General to refer the case to the charity tribunal, which would refer it to the Upper Tribunal where judges could quash the commission’s decision.

Alternatively, the charity could appeal directly to the tribunal, he said.

"There is a lot in the commission’s decision that doesn’t flow very easily," he said.

James, who is acting as Catholic Care’s spokesman, said the charity would decide within 42 days of the commission’s decision whether to appeal.

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