The High Court has backed a council’s decision to bar a couple from fostering children because they oppose homosexuality.

Pentecostal Christians 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.

They told a social worker that they could not tell a foster child that homosexuality was acceptable.

They applied to the High Court to clarify policies on foster parents who have “traditional” views on sexuality. Today, the court agreed with the council’s decision.

The Johns, who were supported by the Christian Legal Centre, say they do not recognise sex before marriage, or the validity of civil partnerships.

Mrs Johns said in November: “The council said: ‘Do you know, you would have to tell [children] 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.”

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “We’re delighted that the High Court’s landmark decision has favoured 21st century decency above 19th century prejudice. In any fostering case the interests of the 60,000 children in care should override the bias of any prospective parent.

“Thankfully, Mr and Mrs Johns’s outdated views aren’t just out of step with the majority of people in modern Britain but those of many Christians too. If you wish to be involved in the delivery of a public service, you should be prepared to provide it fairly to anyone.”