Catholic Care has lost its latest appeal in its fight to be allowed to prevent gay couples from using its adoption services.

Since 2008, the Leeds-based faith group, which arranges around five adoptions each year, has maintained that unless it is able to exclude gay people as potential guardians it would lose vital church funding.

However, on Friday, a judge dismissed Catholic Care’s latest appeal at the Upper Tribunal in central London.

According to ThirdSector, in its ruling, Mr Justice Sales said Catholic Care had failed to provide sufficient evidence that its funding would dry up, and it would be forced to close, if it complied with the law.

The agency, which serves the dioceses of Leeds, Middlesbrough, and Hallam in South Yorkshire, had argued the Equality Act went against the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage and family life.

In response to the ruling, Catholic Care said in a statement:

“Without the constitutional restriction for which it applied, Catholic Care will be forced to close its adoption service. In doing so, it will be joining many other faith-based adoption services that have been forced to close since 2008.”

Catholic Care first appealed in 2008 against an initial decision by the Charity Commission that it could not change its remit – it is now weighing-up a fresh appeal.

The Charity Commission said in a statement that it welcomed the Upper Tribunal’s decision.