Charity warned over same-sex policy

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A Catholic adoption agency has been warned that it could lose its charitable status over its refusal to place children with same-sex couples.

The Scottish Charity regulator said St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society provides a valuable service.

But the watchdog said it believed its current practice was unlawful. It has now given the society three months to change its procedures.

The Glasgow charity said it was talking to legal advisors about the matter.

The ruling from the regulator follows a complaint from the National Secular Society about St Margaret’s statement that it would place children with parents who have been married for at least two years.

‘Duty to act’

The Scottish Charity Regulator’s head of registration, Martin Tyson, said: ‘We acknowledge the valuable service provided by this charity, but the fact is that all charities must comply with the law, including the Equality Act 2010.

“Where we find this is not the case, we have a duty to act.

‘We have carefully considered the details of this case, and the legal position is clear – the charity must take steps so that it does not discriminate unlawfully and can pass the charity test.”

He said this was a “complex” case and the regulator had “discussed matters at great length with the charity’s trustees”.

Mr Tyson added: “We hope that the charity will respond positively and take the necessary action so that it remains in the Scottish Charity Register.”

The regulator has issued a direction to St Margaret’s, instructing it to amend its procedures and assessment criteria to meet the requirements of the Equality Act.

Written By: BBC News
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

19 COMMENTS

  1. But the watchdog said it believed its current practice was unlawful. It has now given the society three months to change its procedures.

    The Glasgow charity said it was talking to legal advisors about the matter.

    Which translated into English, (with a wee Scottish accent) – means they will try to find a loophole to wriggle out of the legal requirements, or operate clandestine discrimination in TRrroooo Catholic fashion!

  2. Surely the NSS got better things to do than to undermine what seems to be a dedicated adoption agency, wanting to remove vulnerable children from the care system and place them with loving parents. This organisation like the Sally Army has a family tracing service allowing people to trace parents who may have given them up for adoption decades before.

  3. Mr Tyson added: “We hope that the charity will respond positively and take the necessary action so that it remains in the Scottish Charity Register.”

    Good to see he finally packed in the boxing and got himself a proper job.

    Joking aside it seems they feel there may be wriggle room, as Alan suggests, as the government are allowing other proxy organisations to discriminate regarding equality by opting out of marrying same sex couples whilst remaining a state proxy.

    Anvil.

  4. In reply to #2 by JeffVader67:

    Surely the NSS got better things to do than to undermine what seems to be a dedicated adoption agency, wanting to remove vulnerable children from the care system and place them with loving parents. This organisation like the Sally Army has a family tracing service allowing people to trace parents who may have given them up for adoption decades before.

    How is the NSS undermining them? They are just being encouraged to do their job better by expanding the pool of potential parents so more kids get a loving family. What could be wrong with that? Once Cameron wins on gay marriage they can even place them with a married gay couple. The RCC should be over the moon about that they are keen on people getting married as I remember it.

    By the way have you seen the Salvation Army rules on homosexuality? I know they do good work but they are bloody prehistoric in their attitudes to Salvation Army members who are homosexual.

    Michael

  5. In reply to #2 by JeffVader67:

    Surely the NSS got better things to do than to undermine what seems to be a dedicated adoption agency, wanting to remove vulnerable children from the care system and place them with loving parents. This organisation like the Sally Army has a family tracing service allowing people to trace parents who may have given them up for adoption decades before.

    These charities act as an arm of the state yet discriminate against individual citizens of the state on the grounds of gender/sexual orientation and religion.

    Should they be left alone to continue to discriminate along sectarian and sexual lines?

    If we replaced any of the above with race would that still get this response from “disappointed” Education Secretary, Mike Russell:

    “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,”

    Surely it is in the best interests of the children to have access to as many safe and loving homes as is feasibly possible and not have this access restricted by bigoted sectarian and homophobic policies that are paid for by you and me.

    Anvil.

  6. In reply to #2 by JeffVader67:

    Surely the NSS got better things to do than to undermine what seems to be a dedicated adoption agency, wanting to remove vulnerable children from the care system and place them with loving parents. This organisation like the Sally Army has a family tracing service allowing people to trace parents who may have given them up for adoption decades before.

    Surely the NSS has an obligation to expose a state subsidized charitable organisation that is clearly breaking the law for overtly religious reasons, no matter how seemingly dedicated their efforts?

    As a non-theist from the Glasgow area, I have had too many experiences of how ‘dedicated’ sectarian religious businesses can be when it comes to the ‘welfare’ of vulnerable children, adults and societies….

  7. In reply to #2 by JeffVader67:

    Surely the NSS got better things to do than to undermine what seems to be a dedicated adoption agency, wanting to remove vulnerable children from the care system and place them with loving parents. This organisation like the Sally Army has a family tracing service allowing people to trace parents who may have given them up for adoption decades before.

    Given the track-record of paedophile priests and child abuse in Catholic orphanages, enforcing laws against religious discrimination would seem to be very important – given the pressure on Catholic parents to cover-up for abusers! The RCC may well wish to avoid children reporting incidents to independently minded adopting parents. Being a suitable person to adopt, has nothing to do with being a Catholic sheeple!

  8. I stand by what I said. And yes I believe gay couples make excellent adoptive parents. I also believe that as St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society is a Catholic organisation the NSS has decided to target it. This will only end in a feeding frenzy for lawyers.

    Can someone please tell me how I can keep track of my comments as was the case on the original board.

  9. In reply to #8 by JeffVader67:

    I stand by what I said. And yes I believe gay couples make excellent adoptive parents. I also believe that as St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society is a Catholic organisation the NSS has decided to target it. This will only end in a feeding frenzy for lawyers.

    How so? Either they are complying with the law or not. This is the problem I have with the state handing over responsibility for these types of things. You are handing over to others agenda to save tax. In this case a catholic agenda. We see the same with catholic hospitals when it comes to abortion, and faith schools who don’t want to teach the science curriculum (or at least de-emphasis aspects of it). Here in Australia private schools get funded by the exact amount (sometimes more) and state schools get per student on the basis that they are doing the governments job for them. Fair enough, if they are in fact doing the same job. Reality is that they often pick and choose who they take or keep. For example in my town none of the faith schools have special education units-they are almost exclusively handled by the state system. If a student is a behaviour problem they can kick them out where they state schools cannot refuse enrolment. In hospitals they want to control what treatments or advice they offer.

    If they want to run an organisation to help find homes for orphans they are entirely free to do so without the state funding it. They can then maintain any racist, bigoted, sexist policy they choose. Just don’t ask the state to foot the bill.

  10. In reply to #4 by mmurray:

    What could be wrong with that? Once Cameron wins on gay marriage they can even place them with a married gay couple.

    It’s a small point, Michael, but from the way you’ve phrased this it sounds like you think David Cameron is some sort of idealist making a principled stand for gay rights. He isn’t. On both counts.

    I just don’t want you to have the wrong impression about this wretched man.

  11. “St Margaret’s statement that it would place children with parents who have been married for at least two years.”

    “all charities must comply with the law, including the Equality Act 2010.”

    ‘He said this was a “complex” case and the regulator had “discussed matters at great length with the charity’s trustees”.’

    This is not a complex case

  12. I don’t know. I can see some merit to Jeff’s point about targeting Catholics. I suppose it depends on the agency’s actual policies. If the policy says they won’t adopt out their children to unmarried couples (as opposed to saying they won’t adopt to homosexual couples), then it’s not exactly deliberate discrimination on the agency’s part. If the wrench in the plan is that the country doesn’t allow/recognize same-sex marriage, then that policy would ideally be the target, rather than the adoption agency’s policy.

    Adopting only to stable, two-parent (of any gender) homes is not an unreasonable childcare measure. Of course it’s just as possible for single parents to take great care of children, but if they’re looking for a simple, interpretable, threshhold-level policy designed to identify good child-rearing environments, the old “happily married” one is useful.

  13. In reply to #13 by ArmchairCat:

    Adopting only to stable, two-parent (of any gender) homes is not an unreasonable childcare measure. Of course it’s just as possible for single parents to take great care of children, but if they’re looking for a simple, interpretable, threshhold-level policy designed to identify good child-rearing environments, the old “happily married” one is useful.

    Well, statistically, what this does identify is that 45% of those chosen will not attain such a status as they will be merely two years closer to divorce.

    Anvil.

  14. In reply to #10 by Anvil:

    In reply to #8 by JeffVader67:

    Can someone please tell me how I can keep track of my comments as was the case on the original board.

    Same routine, Jeff, just click on your avatar.
    Anvil.

    Hi Anvil. The problem is, first you have to find a Comment with your Avatar, then when you click on the link you want, it only takes you to the Post, not right to your Comment like it did before, so I’m hoping a fix is coming….

  15. In reply to #11 by Katy Cordeth:

    In reply to #4 by mmurray:

    What could be wrong with that? Once Cameron wins on gay marriage they can even place them with a married gay couple.

    It’s a small point, Michael, but from the way you’ve phrased this it sounds like you think David Cameron is some sort of idealist making a principled stand for gay rights. He isn’t. On both counts.

    I just don’t want you to have the wrong impression about this wretched man.

    Hi Katy

    Thanks. It’s OK I know what Cameron is like. I’m a regular Guardian reader so a fan of his.

    Michael

  16. In reply to #16 by CdnMacAtheist:

    In reply to #10 by Anvil:

    In reply to #8 by JeffVader67:

    Can someone please tell me how I can keep track of my comments as was the case on the original board.

    Same routine, Jeff, just click on your avatar.
    Anvil.

    Hi Anvil. The problem is, first you have to find a Comment with your Avatar, then when you click on the link you want, it only takes you to the Post, not right to your Comment like it did before, so I’m hoping a fix is coming….

    Yeah, see what you both mean.

    Anvil.

  17. In reply to #2 by JeffVader67:

    Surely the NSS got better things to do than to undermine what seems to be a dedicated adoption agency, wanting to remove vulnerable children from the care system and place them with loving parents. This organisation like the Sally Army has a family tracing service allowing people to trace parents who may have given them up for adoption decades before.

    The Sally Army you say? Would this be the same Sally Army, along with Barnardo’s and several institutions that shipped children to other commonwealth countries like Australia and Canada with the backing of respective governemnts?

    These children were usualy takem from their parants against their wishes and at times without their knowladge and deported abroad (‘For their own good’ apparently).

    Yes, your children are safe in their hands, NOT!

    http://www.childmigrantstrust.com/our-work/child-migration-history

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