Catholic Care’s latest appeal in its ongoing campaign to be allowed to prevent gay couples from using its adoption services has begun at the Upper Tribunal in central London.

It is the fourth in a series of appeals by the Leeds-based faith group since the Charity Commission refused its request in November 2008 to change its charitable objectives.

Catholic Care has maintained that unless it is able to exclude gay people from using its adoption facilities it would lose church funding and be forced to close down the service.

The Civil Society reports that the latest appeal is being heard by Mr Justice Sales at the Rolls Building in central London and is due to conclude by the end of the week.

Lawyers for Catholic Care told the Upper Tribunal on Wednesday that the charity tribunal “misdirected itself” in reaching its ruling against Catholic Care in April last year.

Naomi Phillips of the British Humanist Association said at the time:

“When groups are providing public services, not least vital services such as adoption, it is legitimate to prevent unjustified discrimination, as the law seeks to do, in order to ensure that those services are equal, accessible and operate in the interests of those they are helping.”

Catholic Care wants to make use of an exemption for charities under section 193 of the Equality Act 2010, which it claims can allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation provided it is “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.

Lawyers for the Charity Commission will present their case to the Upper Tribunal later today.