Christian couple rejected by foster agency for wanting to change LGBT+ children tell court they were discriminated against

Patrick Kelleher December 1, 2020
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Australia Hordyks couple

Keira and Byron Hordyk are suing a foster agency after they were turned away over their views on homosexuality (Facebook)

A Christian couple from Australia who were turned away by a foster agency because of their belief that an LGBT+ child’s identity can be changed have appeared in court.

Byron and Keira Hordyk, who live in Perth, Australia, applied to the Wanslea Family Services agency in January 2017 to foster children.

During the course of an assessment with Wanslea Family Services, the couple expressed their view that homosexuality is a sin and that same-sex attraction can be resisted.

They went on to claim that they would be able to help a queer child “overcome” their sexuality. Despite this, the couple insisted that their beliefs would not impact on their ability to raise a foster child.

The couple were later rejected by the foster agency because they had failed to meet one of the five competencies laid out by the Department of Communities and would be unable to provide a safe living environment.

The couple have since sued Wanslea Family Services, and had their first court appearance in an eight-day legal hearing on Tuesday (1 December) in the State Administrative Tribunal, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Australian couple claim anti-gay beliefs protected by non-discrimination law.

The couple is arguing that they have been discriminated against under the Equal Opportunities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on religious or political beliefs.

Their hearing has gone ahead despite an earlier ruling by the Equal Opportunities Commission that their case “lacked substance”.

The Hordyks are represented by Steven Penglis SC, who told the court that Wanslea Family Services could have matched them with a child.

“There’s an acknowledgement within Wanslea’s own documents that not one size fits all… the consensus that not one foster parent would fit all foster children,” he said.

“What we say has happened here is that once a view was expressed by the Hordyks and very firmly held, we don’t dissolve from that… those views ought not to have ended the process.

“What the Hordyks applied for was to look after very young children for zero to five years old on a temporary basis, they wanted to give respite.”

We do feel we have been discriminated against.

He went on to quote materials from Wanslea Family Services which says they prepare “foster carers to foster children from diverse sexuality backgrounds” and that it was “sensitive to young people, regardless of their sexuality”.

Speaking to The West Australian in November, Byron Hordyk said: “We do feel we have been discriminated against and also we felt that if we were quiet about this and didn’t say anything about it, it could potentially harm or limit any people with the same Christian values as ours from fostering.

“We hold traditional Christian values on how the Bible teaches us on sexuality and marriage.

“We stated it from the beginning. We are not here to hide behind it. Everyone – particularly with a divisive issue – is afraid of being put into the realm of public opinion in a negative light. And my beliefs are strong enough that this might be my cross to bear.”

More: Australia, Byron Hordyk, Keira Hordyk, Perth

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