Christian doctor begins legal fight over gay adoptions
A Christian doctor who was removed from an adoption panel after she refused to endorse applications by same-sex couples hopes to go to the European Court of Justice.
Dr Sheila Matthews, of Kettering, will ask the court to establish whether medical opinion should be permitted to override equality laws.
She says she was forced out of her post on the Northamptonshire Council Adoption Panel after she asked to be allowed to abstain from voting in cases involving same-sex couples, on the grounds that it contravened her beliefs.
She was told that her beliefs on gay adoption were incompatible with equality legislation and council policies and resigned in March.
The Daily Telegraph reports that she will go to a Leicester employment tribunal today to ask it to refer her case to the European Court.
Dr Matthews will ask the court to decide whether professional medical opinion should override the rights of gay would-be parents.
She said: “I understand that legislation permits same sex couples to adopt and they are positively encouraged to apply, but I have professional concerns, based on educational and psychological evidence, of the influences on children growing up in homosexual households and I feel this is not the best possible option for a child.
“I do not consider myself to be homophobic, however I believe that children do best in families with a father and mother playing different roles in a child’s upbringing and committed to each other in a lifelong relationship.”
She added: “My view arose from both a professional one from my reading of the literature, and an historical Christian perspective of relationships, based on the Bible, an authority which our court system still uses today to swear in those giving evidence and juries, based on its authority.”
Dr Matthews is being represented by the Christian Legal Centre.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “It cannot be right that a doctor of such standing is forced from her role on an adoption panel, just because of her professional and Christian views.
“Much of the population, and many studies, would agree with her professional and personal standpoint. Most professional opinion on this issue happens to fit closely with the Christian view. Yet Christians are being increasingly excluded from the public square and this can no longer go unnoticed.”
More: adoption, Andrea Minichiello, Christian, court, doctor, Dr Matthews, dr sheila, Dr Sheila Matthews, equality legislation, northamptonshire council, Opinion, panel, same sex couples, telegraph reports