Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator confirms decision on Catholic adoption agency

St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society has until 22 April to amend its procedures to allow same-sex couples to use its services or it will be taken off the charity register

The OSCR
The OSCR

A Catholic adoption agency has lost its appeal against a decision by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator that it must allow same-sex couples to use its services or lose its charitable status. 

The Glasgow-based St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society asked the OSCR to review its decision after the regulator ruled that the organisation had failed the charity test because it insisted that potential adoptive parents be married for at least two years.

This meant it was in breach of the Equality Act 2010 by excluding same-sex couples from its services, the OSCR decided.

In an updated report, published yesterday, the OSCR confirmed its original view that St Margaret’s failed the charity test because it discriminated unlawfully on grounds of religion or belief and sexual orientation, and was in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

"OSCR found that the charity does not provide public benefit because the way it provides benefit involves 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 report says.

"OSCR also found that access to the benefits the charity provides is unduly restricted. OSCR therefore found that the charity fails the charity test and confirmed the decision to direct the charity to meet the charity test."

The OSCR said that St Margaret’s must amend its guidance and procedures by 22 April or face removal from the Scottish charity register.  

A spokesman for St Margaret's said: "We are disappointed at the decision. We will consult our lawyers before considering what course of action to pursue. In the meantime, St Margaret’s remains open for business."

The charity has the right to appeal the decision to the Scottish Charity Appeals Panel.

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