11 April 2014
Adoption agencies and faith identity
Ben Ryan on the Tablet blog says that it is worrying that "a court" had ever decided that an adoption agency could not also be a Catholic religious organisation; that however is not the case.
The original decision made by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) was a purely administrative decision made by a quango, not a court. That decision was appealed to a court, namely the Scottish Charity Appeal Panel, which gave a legal judgment accepting that St Margaret’s Children’s Society in Glasgow was acting in accordance with its charitable constitution which required it to provide all its services in accordance with Catholic teaching. This made it a religious organisation entitled to the benefit of the specific exemptions for Charities and Religious Organisations set out in the Equality Act.
The decision by the appeal panel makes it clear that Catholic charities can and should make their Catholic identity clear in their constitutions and should act at all times in accordance with Catholic teaching. The legal exemptions for religious organisations and charities are set out and explained in the CTS Booklet "Guide to Religious Freedom and the Law".
Neil Addison (Barrister), National Director, Thomas More Legal Centre
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