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Scottish Catholic charity must accept adoption applications from gay couples – says regulator

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  1. That There Other David 23 Jan 2013, 8:06pm

    How many times do these people have to be slapped down by the authorities before they accept they’ve backed the wrong train?

    1. St. Margaret’s have never been slapped down by the authorites until now. When the Uk government were bringing in the Sexual Orientation Regulations a few years back, St. Margaret’s were given persmission to change their rules to avoid having to comply with them – by the Office of the Scottish Charity Commissioner, funnily enough. The Scottish government played a part in it too – see my link to a story from the time.

      I’m glad that action is now being taken against this discrimination. Well done to the National Secular Society.

      1. Thankfully, the law is catching up on them at last.

        1. Only thanks to the National Secular Society. If they hadn’t complained, St. Margaret’s would have carried on discriminating against gay people for who knows how long. I’ve e-mailed about a dozen MSPs, MPs and MEPs (of all the main parties) about St. Margaret’s over the last few years and not one was prepared to do anything about it. My faith in my elected representatives has been severly diminished over this. It seems they are only in favour of full equality for gay people when it won’t upset the Catholic church!

          1. The regulator is also to blame for letting it go on for so long, but I am glad they have now, finally, given them three months notice to either comply or lose their charity status.

          2. Don’t forget, Doug, that the OSCR also allowed St. Margaret’s to change their constitution in the first place back in 2007 which allowed them to avoid complying with the Sexual Orientation Regulations which were brought in that year.

            If I understand it correctly, the regulator is now saying that it’s the 2010 Equality Act that St. Margaret’s is illegally flouting.

            So the OSCR allowed them to discriminate against gay people in the first place, which is just disgusting.

          3. The whole scenario surrounding St Margaret’s is odd; particularly changing their objects when Leeds based, Catholic Care, could not. I also remember Clare Short desperately pleading the Catholic adoption case, but, presumably, she had previously put her son up for adoption through one of these Catholic affiliated agencies in times gone by. I don’t know what motivates Hyslop though, who seems so eager to help St Margaret’s circumvent the law. I believe the regulator itself may have also been in the firing line had it allowed St Margaret’s to continue unchecked.

          4. Yes, I agree with what you say, Doug. I also get annoyed by the inconsistency of politicians. For example, Fiona Hyslop helped St. Margaret’s to discriminate against gay people yet a couple of years later she was talking about stopping Scottish government aid to homophobic African countries and I believe she supports equal marriage. Does she only support gay equality when it doesn’t directly affect the Catholic church? Who knows. For me, gay equality is absolute, not an issue to pick and choose when I want to support it.

          5. Yes, it will be interesting, BennieM, especially as St Margaret’s doesn’t only have to comply with the law by April, but also has to prove it is of public benefit.

  2. Robert in S. Kensington 23 Jan 2013, 8:17pm

    As long as religious affiliated agencies and employers are receiving tax payer financing, then they must comply with the equalities law, regardless of religious beliefs. It’s as simple as that. If they want to discriminate as a private entity, then let them seek private funding elsewhere.

    Wait until Cardinal O’Brien and the Scottish bishops get their hands on this. They’ll skew it to kingdom come screaming the abuse of religious freedom victim card.

  3. Mumbo Jumbo 23 Jan 2013, 8:37pm

    Cue cries of “persecution”.

  4. They’ve operating illegally for long enough.

  5. This is definitely the area I find most gut wrenching when it comes to the war between homophobia and the pursuit of equality. The stance, “If you don’t like it and you have to close because of it, then so be it,” is the right one. But the fact they actually go ahead and close instead of comply with this law, when innocent and vulnerable children are at the heart of what they do… it really does beggar belief.

    There are no winners in these cases, none at all. Shame on the Catholic church.

  6. Quite right. They seem to care more about their right to discriminate than the children they’re trying to place.

  7. The education minister Mike Russell is siding with them !! according to BBC news

    1. I’ve just checked the BBC story you refer to. It’s very disappointing that Mike Russell is siding with St. Margaret’s, but not surprising given the previous Education Secretary, Fiona Hyslop advised St. Margaret’s a few years back. I had hoped that deciding to legislate for equal marriage was a sign the SNP were fully comitted to gay equality. Maybe they don’t want to upset Souter too much!

      1. According to the BBC:

        Education Secretary Mike Russell said he was “disappointed” by the regulator’s decision.

        “We do not believe that this outcome is in the best interests of the children St Margaret’s helps, who are in need of a safe and loving family home,” he said.

        “We believe St Margaret’s should be able to continue its valuable work and are actively and urgently seeking a solution.

        “I will personally meet with representatives of St Margaret’s next week to discuss the best way forward.”

        Let’s hope that St. Margaret’s are not allowed to continue to discriminate against gay people. The other Catholic adoption agency in Scotland, St. Andrew’s in Edinburgh, was able to continue when after the Sexual Orientation Regualtions were brought it – they just had to sever links to the Catholic Church. There’s no reason why St. Margaret’s can’t do the same, unless they put religious bigotry over the welfare of children.

        1. We need to know exactly where the SNP Scottish government stand on this issue. Are the favour of gay equality or religious bigotry?

          So far indications are that they are more interested in helping St. Margaret’s break the law and discriminate against gay people than doing the right thing and complying with equality law and putting and end to religious bigotry against gay people.

          I had hoped their decision to legislate for equal marriage was a sign the SNP was fully committed to gay equality. I was clearly wrong.

  8. gattagiudecca 24 Jan 2013, 12:15am

    @BennieM you have been banging on for a couple of years now on these threads about St. Margaret’s. You normally get ignored or get abuse from SNP apologists. You must feel pleased that finally this is being called out for what it is – illegal discrimination.

    1. Thanks gattagiudecca. I’m not dead against the SNP like some people think, I think some of their policies are really good – free prescriptions, free bus passes for the elderly and disabled, no university tuition fees, for example.

      I just think they got a few things wrong on gay equality such as St. Margaret’s, Roseanna Cunningham and happily accepting money from Souter. But then they did decide to legislate for equal marriage, so they aren’t all bad! It’s their inconsistency when it comes to gay equality that really bothers me.

      I know people who support or are members of political parties have very strong views – you only have to look at these threads to see that! But to blindly defend a party no matter what does nobody any good at all, least of all the party itself.

      In fact I was once a very strong supporter of the SNP but stopped voting for them when they took their first half million from Souter in 2007. As a gay man, that was just too much for me to turn a blind eye to.

    2. Right on… Bennie knows this issue inside out and upside down, he has been a tireless opponent of discrimination in Scotland.

      Congrats, Bennie, for persisting… :)

      1. Thanks Jonpol, but the people who deserve the praise on this one are the National Secular Society.

  9. Jock S. Trap 24 Jan 2013, 10:42am

    Excellent and quite right too!

    How many times though do Catholics and Christians need to appeal? There really should be a limit as all they are trying to do is find a judge with as discriminating views as they have themselves.

    I believe a new law should come into force to stop the endless appeals esp in cases of such blatant discrimination.

  10. So, they’ve been given three month to change or loose their charitable status …?It’ll be interesting to see if their principles go out the window when their income is threatened.

  11. Informal adoption organised by volunteers is a relic of Victorian philanthropy when lots of abandoned children needed homes and religiously-inspired adoption is frankly a scandal. Only professional state-run agencies should be responsible for something of such vital public interest.
    The welfare of children is a matter of rational and empirical decision-making – not supernatural tosh.

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