A Christian couple who were barred from fostering children after they admitted that they believe homosexuality is unacceptable are to challenge the ban at the High Court.

Eunice and Owen Johns, of Derby, were told by the city council in 2007 that a fostering panel had rejected them because of their views.

The couple, who are Pentecostal Christians and have fostered almost 20 children in the past, say they were told that they would have to tell their foster children that it is okay to be gay.

But they do not recognise sex before marriage, or the validity of civil partnerships.

Mrs Johns said: “The council said: ‘Do you know, you would have to tell them that it’s OK to be homosexual?’

“But I said I couldn’t do that because my Christian beliefs won’t let me. Morally, I couldn’t do that. Spiritually I couldn’t do that.”

The couple are to go to the High Court today to ask it to clarify the council’s stance on foster parents who have “traditional” views on sexuality.

They are being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, which says the case is the first of its kind.

Andrea Minichiello-Williams, barrister and director of the centre, told the Daily Telegraph: “The Johns are a loving Christian couple, who have in the past, and would in the future, give a wonderful home to a vulnerable child.

“Research clearly establishes that children flourish best in a family with both a mother and father in a committed relationship, like the Johns have.

“One of the issues before the Court is whether Christian couples, who have traditional views on sexual ethics, are ‘fit and proper persons’ to foster – and, by implication, adopt.

“That the Court even needs to consider this is a remarkable reversal in the concept of the public good and the traditional definition of sexual morality.”