Religious adoption agency Catholic Care is to argue its case for banning gay people from its services in the High Court early next year.

The Diocese of Leeds agency will appeal against a Charities Commission ruling which said it could not discriminate against gay couples.

The Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007 outlawed discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities and services, including adoption.

Catholic agencies were given a two-year window in which to comply with the new rules, which ran out in December 2008.

Catholic Care had wanted to take advantage of a clause in the Sexual Orientation Regulations which allows charities to discriminate by amending its charitable objectives.

However it was barred from doing so by the Charities Commission. The High Court will have to consider the correct interpretation of the rules around amending charitable objectives.

Many Catholic adoption agencies have chosen to close rather than consider gay couples but Catholic Care is continuing to fight for its right to discriminate.

Mark Wiggin, chief executive of Catholic Care, told Third Sector that the High Court hearing will be held on March 3rd and 4th next year.