Catholic charity withdraws gay adoption appeal

Father Hudson's Society halts case with the Charity Tribunal

One of two Catholic adoption agencies appealing against a Charity Commission decision not to allow them to take steps to exclude gay people from adopting has withdrawn its case from the Charity Tribunal.

Father Hudson's Society launched a joint appeal before Christmas with Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) after the commission ruled they could not change their charitable objects to take advantage of a clause in new equality legislation that would permit them to discriminate against people with certain sexual orientations (11 December, page 3). The clause says charities can discriminate if explicitly permitted by their governing documents.

The society withdrew its case after a directions hearing on 17 April. Catholic Care's appeal will proceed to a full hearing on 13 May. Neither charity was willing to comment. The tribunal ruled in March that the charities would have to show the public benefit created by their being permitted to discriminate was sufficient to justify exemption from the new law (Third Sector Online, 16 March).

Several other Catholic agencies have broken formal links with the church to comply with the new law.


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