The Anti-Gay Parents Should Be Able to Adopt Children

In Britain, Eunice and Owen Johns are already foster parents to a handful of children and they wanted to adopt more. But local authorities said they couldn’t do it — and Britain’s high court just ruled in support of that decision.

The reason?

Eunice and Owen Johns, who are in their sixties and have fostered children in the past, claimed they were being discriminated against by Derby city council because of their Christian beliefs, after they told a social worker they could not tell a child a “homosexual lifestyle” was acceptable. The couple had hoped to foster five- to 10-year-olds.

Outside the court, Eunice Johns said: “We are extremely distressed at what the judges have ruled. All we wanted was to offer a loving home to a child in need, but because we are Christians with mainstream Christian views on sexual ethics, we are apparently unsuitable.

We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing. We feel excluded and that there is no place for us in society.”

See? The Jones just want to teach their future kids that they will provide them with unconditional love! Unless, you know, they turn out to be gay. In that case, screw ‘em.

Here’s how Focus on the Family spun the story:

that same Christian faith that motivated them to foster parent in the first place is being cited as reason to declare them ineligible to foster parent anymore.

Why?

Simply put, Mr. and Mrs. Johns believe in traditional Christian teachings, including that heterosexual marriage is God’s ideal and that sex outside of biblical marriage between a man and a woman is a sin. As parents, they’ve obviously shared these beliefs with children in their care, and therein lies the crux of the matter.

Focus’ Jim Daly is lying, of course. He must have read the court’s opinion. He must know their Christianity wasn’t the reason for the decision:

In a sharply worded judgment, Lord Justice Munby and Justice Beatson dismissed the couple’s lawyer’s claims as “a travesty of reality”.

“No one is asserting that Christians (or, for that matter, Jews or Muslims) are not ‘fit and proper’ persons to foster or adopt. No one is seeking to de-legitimise Christianity or any other faith or belief. On the contrary, it is fundamental to our law and our way of life that everyone is equal before the law and equal as a human being … entitled to dignity and respect. We are, however, entitled to take judicial notice of the fact that, whereas the sharia is still understood in many places as making homosexuality a capital offence, … the Church of England permits its clergy, so long as they remain celibate, to enter into civil partnerships. We live in this country in a democratic and pluralistic society, in a secular state not a theocracy.”

All that said, the ruling is troubling to me.

What if the couple hadn’t made the anti-gay remarks to the social worker? What if they simply said they were Christians and left it at that?

Then they’d be seen as “fit” parents.

But after they admitted what some of those Christian beliefs actually were?

Now they’re unfit?

That seems odd. How many homophobic Christian parents adopt kids in Britain (and elsewhere) on a regular basis? How many of them pass along their anti-gay views to their children all the same? Is anyone stopping them? Nope.

And, on that matter, what about Mormons? Catholics? Anyone else whose views, if spelled out and explained thoroughly, could be seen as the rantings of a lunatic? (You eat your god and drink his blood?) Are they unfit parents? They’re allowed to adopt kids now, so their beliefs clearly aren’t an issue there.

It sounds like the Jones’ biggest crime was opening their mouth when they shouldn’t have.

And how long will it be before a judge stops atheists from adopting children because we’re not providing our kids with the opportunity to worship freely because of our heathenistic godlessness?

Wait.

That actually happened before.

Check out this Time magazine article from 1970 (Headline: “Can Atheists Be Parents?”):

In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes’ right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes’ “high moral and ethical standards,” he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that “no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience.” Despite Eleanor Katherine’s tender years, he continued, “the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being.”

It’s not exactly analogous — for one, you choose your religion, but not your sexual orientation — but what’s preventing courts from denying adoption rights privileges from any parents who hold some unpopular view?

It’s a bad precedent to set.

***Update***: Just to be clear, I find the anti-gay views discriminatory and disgusting. But I would like to know why the Jones’ views are being singled out when many other Christian parents (who can easily adopt children) would likely teach their children that non-Christians are going to hell, or would ostracize the children if they left their faith, or would teach them that evolution is false and Creationism is correct. Is all that really any different than the Jones’ views that being gay is immoral?

***Update 2***: My apologies if I used the terms “foster parents” and “adoptive parents” interchangeably. I didn’t realize there was a difference between the two.

  • Lobar

    Precedent be damned, the home is unfit to adopt! I think you’ve made the case for judges to start probing prospective parents’ beliefs in regards to their ability to provide unconditional love and acceptance to the adopted child, not for taking it off the table.

  • ewan

    Wow. That’s got to be the most fundamentally point-missing thing I’ve ever read here. The idea that they ‘just happened’ to let this slip is a nonsense – Social Services vet prospective parents to the Nth degree; they would have asked about this out-right. Other people with these beliefs aren’t going to get through either – the Johns are not simply unlucky. Secondly, it’s not about their beliefs being ‘unpopular’; it’s completely about the welfare of the children – as you pointed out, if one of the children turns out to be gay, they’re screwed, and that’s the problem.

    If you’re a kook who’s going to do a good job caring for a child you’re OK, if you’re threatening not to care for them properly under certain circumstances, then you’re not. That seems fair enough.

  • matt

    they’re in their sixties and they want to adopt more? they’re to old

    people passing on their anti gay views cause a lot of problems in todays world as do a lot of other negative views of the world and or other human beings sounds like a good reason to refuse them to me

  • libratheist

    The actual ruling makes it clear that they are not being discriminated against due to ther religion, but due to them being homophobic personally, which even Eunice Jones admitted in her hearing was not entirely due to her faith.

    They said that if they were fostering a child who was gay they would try to ‘turn them around’, and they implied they would not prevent a foster-child from bullying other gay children about their sexuality.

    Their right to believe being gay is sunful is curtailed by the right of a child (from a troubled background anyway), placed in a foster home to be supported and loved no matter what.

    Also, they were not trying to adopt, but to foster children on a more short-term basis, which makes things slightly different legally I think.

  • Gail

    I don’t think it’s really analogous to the atheist case you mentioned at all. While religion can certainly be a disadvantage to a kid (myself included), telling a kid who might be gay that homosexuality is wrong is far more damaging long-term. With the amount of kids that this couple has fostered over the years, the likelihood is good that they’ve already done some damage. A kid who is told that homosexuality is wrong is certainly going to have a lot of issues when it come to dealing with his/her sexuality later on, issues that nobody should have to have because there is nothing wrong with them at all.

  • Mihangel apYrs

    Hemant

    other reasons why they were refused:

    they would try to “gently turn” any gay child

    they would continue to attend church twice on Sunday together, thus forcing any child to go with them

    So it wasn’t just their Xainity, it was how they would bring it to bear on any child placed with them

  • Owen

    As was said above, this ruling was a bout the welfare of the children being fostered. What happens to a gay child that’s fostered by the couple? He could grow up with a lot of issues, and not have any avenue to address them.

  • AtheistReality

    Disallowing people who are against homosexuality as a lifestyle to adopt children is just as bad as disallowing those who are open to it to do so if you ask me. I’m an atheist all the way, and I hold religion in a household akin to child abuse in some cases… but discrimination in the opposite direction isn’t what I’m looking for. It shouldn’t be what anyone’s looking for. If we allow society’s mainstream and popular views to govern everybody, we’re in for a lot of trouble down the road when those views change – as they always do.

  • ewan

    Also, the idea that we should completely stuff some unfortunate child by sticking them with the homophobes just so as to avoid setting a precedent that may possibly in some hypothetical future, disadvantage atheists in another country, is a serious failure of perspective.

  • http://pinkydead.blogspot.com David McNerney

    Disagree.

    As far as adoption is concerned the social worker should be able to dismiss any application based on the conversation in the interview – as long as it is not done on the basis of an illegal discrimination. That’s why they have an interview – it’s not like buying a car where you just check all the boxes on the form and you pick up your new child at the desk.

    This is not religious discrimination: they were rejected because they social worker felt that the held strong homophobic views – based on what they said. True, those views were a consequence of the Johns’ religion, but they were not rejected because of the religion itself. If they were atheists – yet still held homophobic views they would have been rejected.

    If they held racist or sexist view they should equally have been dismissed – irrespective of the source.

  • none

    So, would it have been a “bad precedent” if a racist couple had been denied the ability to foster? This was Britain, so how about a couple which thought that “all those dirty Pakis should be shipped back to where they came from”?

    Of course not. The state currently has custody of and responsibility for the child. This means it has a great deal of responsibility for ensuring that the child goes to the best possible home. A racist home falls way, way down the list of legitimate options… and so does a homophobic home.

  • Samiimas

    And how long will it be before a judge stops atheists from adopting children because we’re not providing our kids with the opportunity to worship freely because of our heathenistic godlessness?

    Is the Atheist is saying that they’re gonna raise their children to believe that theists are inferior, evil people and that they refuse to ever tell their child that theists are decent people? Than they fully deserve a ban from government adoptions, just like these bigots deserve to be banned.

    Would anyone be defending these bigots if they wanted to raise a child under the religion of Christian Identity and it’s beliefs? Would you be defending them if they said “All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of racemixing was a good thing.”?

  • carlie

    No.
    First, taking in a child that is not yours is not a right, it’s a privilege. And the state has a vested interest in making sure that the child is in a safe and loving home. At least 10% of the population is gay, including those children, so putting a child in the home of these people is quite possibly sentencing them to being taught that they personally are horrible people who are going to hell. If anything, it means that no Christian should get any children that don’t already belong to them.

    Second, it’s not adopting, it’s fostering. These are homes needed for children who have already had huge amounts of upheaval in their lives, and possibly really bad adult role models as well. They don’t need the extra problems of getting religious guilt on top of all of that. It’s not at all analogous to being an atheist; it’s analogous to being a racist. Would you think it’s ok to put a black child in the home of people who “just happen” to belong to the KKK, or put a Jewish child in the home of people who “just happen” to be neo-Nazis?

  • http://considertheteacosy.wordpress.com Consider the Tea Cosy

    I’m going to have to agree with the rest of the commenters here. Hemant, you’re missing the point. Particularly with what we know about the effects of homophobia on LGBT kids growing up and the impact that has on everything from depression to school dropout rates to suicide. Particularly when we know that queer kids (or those thought to be!) are so much more likely to have been rejected by their families in the first place. It would be incredibly irresponsible to take kids who are more likely than the general population to be some flavour of LGBT and to place them in a home where being queer is seen as a moral evil.
    It’s not about the prospective foster-parents. It’s about the right of their prospective children to safety.

  • MaryD

    I sometimes think this site should be called “The Rabid Homosexual”, judging by most comments that are posted.

    This court case is remarkable and frightening, the couple have been discriminated against on the basis of what they thought, not what they did. Freedom of thought MUST surely trump freedom of speech.

    The idea that a child of 8 has a ‘sexuality’ is a joke, unless you are part of the gay-grooming mafia.

  • gribblethemunchkin

    These people have no leg to stand on. They want to raise an adopted child, but are unwilling to bow to the requirements of the state in doing so. The state can and should therefore not accept their application. The requirements are mild and pretty much guarantee that homophobes, racists, and other types of nasty discriminatory behaviour doesn’t get passed on or inflicted upon children in the states care. Simples.

    There have been a string of funny court cases like this in the UK in the last few years, with christians loosing all of them. Mainly because they were demanding extra rights not available to other citizens and then litigating when they were fired or shut down.

    Good, serves them right. Join the rest of the country in the 21st century or stick with your medieval crap, but don’t expect the rest of the country to bend over to support your nonsense.

  • Uncle Bob

    I once heard of a couple denied because their house was dirty. Woah is the tyranny of the state. Now we just need a religion that is against vacuuming and we’ll have some more outrage to worry over.

    BTW, atheists ARE discriminated against adopting in most states, because most adoption programs have been given over to faith-based organizations. Look up “KingHeathen” on youtube if you want to see how an atheist is treated when trying to adopt kids in Georgia.

  • Phoebe

    I agree with carlie, it’s analogous to being racist, because people don’t choose their sexual orientation. This wasn’t about religion, it was about being anti-gay. Ever heard of Episcopalians? They allow gay bishops so obviously not all Christians are anti-gay…they ignore the homophobic bits of the bible. Christians are all pickers and choosers of what they believe…they have to be or else they’d have to stone each other to death for wearing mixed fabric clothing.

    In the 1970′s, Judge Camarata didn’t want to deny a child the right to be indoctrinated and lied to? VERY STRANGE. But that was not very long after the insane McCarthy era, where our gov’t thought the opposite of China telling their people what to believe and what not to believe, was the US doing the same thing. But of course that’s not the opposite, the opposite is a secular gov’t who keeps their noses out of religion altogether and doesn’t tell the people what to believe or what not to believe.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    gay-grooming mafia

    NEW BAND NAME!

  • Kaylya

    Fostering children is not the same as adopting them. Fostering is a temporary relationship (from very short term to a few years), adopting is permanent. Some children who go through foster care wind up adopted, some wind up back with their parents or other relatives, and some remain as wards of the state and go from foster home to foster home. Foster parents get paid to care for the children.

    While I personally disagree with their views, I think they have a right to express them and the idea that homosexuality is wrong (as long as it’s not also advocating violence towards homosexuals etc) is not so out of line that it should disqualify them. It should have an impact over which children are placed with them though.

  • Brit

    MaryD said:

    The idea that a child of 8 has a ‘sexuality’ is a joke, unless you are part of the gay-grooming mafia.

    Mary, clearly you have not worked with children. I currently work in an elementary school in a resource room/4th grade classroom. 4 graders are 9-10 years old, and I’ve had to spend a lot of time comforting these kids who were made fun of because who they have a crush on got out or they just had a break-up with their boyfriend/girlfriend.

    In the Resource Room, I’ve also heard 3rd graders (8-9 year olds) telling other students about their current boyfriend/girlfriend.

    Children definitely have a sexuality. It’s a bit scary hearing these kids talk about it, but that’s just how it is.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com Steve Bowen

    Just to clear something up. The Jones’ were not seeking to adopt. They have fostered children on a short term “respite care” basis some 15 times before, and they wanted to continue this with children between the ages of 3 and 10. I blogged on this story myself (twice) and reached the conclusion that the ban defied sense. There are plenty of homophobic people who don’t require the nonsense of religion to support their views and I am sure some of them adopt, foster or have their own kids.
    I heard the couple interviewed on radio and they seem perfectly reasonable people. It just seems that in the unlikely event that the subject of homosexuality came up with a 10 year old they would not be compromising their belief by honestly telling the child that their religion considered it wrong, but that not everyone does, at which point they should refer the child to someone who can answer the question sympathetically.

  • http://gammidgy.blogspot.com/ Gammidgy

    In both cases the rights of the child are put ahead of the rights of the adoptive parents. As it should be!

    Whether the right of the child is freedom to express their sexuality without shame or freedom to worship as they see fit, that right must be upheld. If a prospective adoptive parent signals their intent to deny a child his or her rights, of course they should be disqualified.

    What is wrong is the presumption that atheist parents won’t allow a child to go to church if she wants to, because all atheists are rabidly anti-religion. Was Judge Camarata guilty of that presumption or did the atheists make their intents known?

    Equally wrong is the presumption that Christian parents will castigate gay children because all Christians are bigoted homophobes. Hemant comes close to implying that!

  • Steve

    Young children having crushes is perfectly normal. It’s not sexualized like later during puberty.

    There is a great site about this:
    http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/

    Don’t get hung up too much on the pictures. They are often funny or cute, but they very deliberately play with the usual stereotypes.
    Read the stories and you’ll see many common themes. The sense of feeling different for some reason from a very young age. Playing with toys and having interests that are usually associated with the other gender. Some sort of fascination and non-sexual attraction to people of the same gender. Innocent crushes.

    Not everyone is like that obviously, but it’s pretty common.

    As for the case. If it’s just short-time fostering, placing someone with them could be an option. If problems arise, the child could always be taken away with relatively few problems. But adoption? No frakking way.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kev Quondam, Kevque Futurum

    @MikeTheInfidel:

    NEW BAND NAME!

    I can sing, can you play an instrument? :D

  • Anonymous

    Things taught to children at the age of ~eight will stick with them throughout their lives. If they are taught that homosexuality is a choice, and a naughty, sinful choice at that, it will have a lasting impact. The fact that the couple seem like nice people make the teachings all the more likely to stick, and cause damage.

    Bravo on a strong decision.

  • http://chrisjfraser.com Chris

    I’d be shocked if any atheist prospective parent in the UK today was discriminated against in their application because they lacked faith – and by shocked, I mean “it wouldn’t happen”. I’m not sure what the current situation is in America, and wouldn’t be surprised if decisions like the 1970 one were still going through, because America and religious idiocy is still alive and well. But it’s unfair to swap systems as far as the UK and the USA is concerned; in terms of our laws, we’re a better country. On more or less every front.

    And you can’t take the position that they could have kept their mouths shut; the chances are, they were asked about this outright and had to provide an answer. Though I believe this has already been said.

    Also, I’m really not aware of many British Christians (and I know a few) who like talking about hell. When I told my Christian parents about my atheism, they were a bit uncomfortable, but didn’t speculate on eternal consequences; the fire-and-brimstone community here’s tiny. My bisexuality, on the other hand, they were more than ready to criticise (though not in the “hell” sense, more that it was just “wrong”). It’s about the only parallel I can see that might have awful long-term effects. The whole Creationism thing can wait, as it’s just intellectual ignorance (it’s unlikely to heavily skew one’s moral compass directly).

    These things have to be taken with a hefty dose of context. You’re writing as if these parents were part of a morally-screwed majority of Christians, when in fact our Christianity is largely the kind you enjoy with a cup of tea and an absolute horror of offending anyone. Sure, we’ve got our own minority of bigots, but they’re tiny.

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    What was this case about? It was about the suitability of the Johns as foster parents to young children. It was about the welfare of the children and how they would be raised. Local government and the social care that they offer for children is a delicate matter utmost care should be taken to ensure that foster parents are not going to subject their charges to physical or emotional harm.

    Clearly social services policy, the high court and the Equality Act 2010 consider it to be harmful for a child to be discriminated against (treated differently) on the grounds of their sexuality. The Johns have said that they would discriminate and therefore prevent themselves from acting in the role of foster carer for children. I think that this is entirely right and appropriate despite their being 67000 children in the UK in need of foster parents.

    One thing of note about the Equality Act that I think is worth mentioning. The same rule that bars the Johns from fostering children also bars an atheist family from fostering children. If the atheist family said that they would not allow a child to remain in a faith then they would be limiting that child’s freedom and discriminating against them. Again I think that this is entirely right and appropriate as it is the child’s welfare that is in question and their opinions and views should be important.

  • http://s2solutions.us/wordpress Seth Strong

    When a child is in the hands of the state, the state has all the incentive it needs to see that the new guardians represent the values of the state.

    I like this ruling because it is defending the norms of the country and making sure this child is raised with that in mind. It is not too much to ask to think that our children can handle the secular world regardless of your faith or your orientation.

    Nonexistent God Bless The Queen.

  • Kristi

    “We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing.”

    This is what disturbs me. Most “small” children would not be inquiring about this anyway, so why was it even brought up for discussion? I have 3 kids… 3, 6 and 8… none of them have EVER brought up anything related to being homosexual. They have seen men and women, met lesbians and gay men… never once have they questioned it. I am wondering why these potential foster parents would be concerned with an inquisitive five year old.

    I agree that the ruling by the judge should not have been as it was, but I disagree that this should have even been brought up. If these parents would have said something along the lines of “Our faith teaches that the act of homosexuality is wrong, however, I will leave it to the child to decide his/her own faith, only making them aware of what ours teaches”. I think that would have been an acceptable answer. I believe this judge was concerned about the parents discriminating against the child or other children in the future, should they grow up and be gay. This judge was thinking towards the future of the child, not attacking the faith of the parents.

    The judge’s job is to ensure whatever action is taken is in the best interest of the child, and teaching a child to discriminate early on is in no one’s best interest.

  • Samiimas

    But I would like to know why the Jones’ views are being singled out when many other Christian parents (who can easily adopt children) would likely teach their children that non-Christians are going to hell, or would ostracize the children if they left their faith, or would teach them that evolution is false and Creationism is correct. Is all that really any different than the Jones’ views that being gay is immoral?

    They admit that they refuse to ever tell a child that being a homosexual is a good thing.

    Why do you keep leaving this little detail out of all your examples? Why wasn’t your first example about an Atheist who refuses to ever tell their child that Christians can be good people? And why doesn’t this example specify that the Christian couple refuses to ever tell their child that non-Christians can be good people?

    The state can’t stop you from brainwashing the product of your own loins, but adoption agencies have every right to refuse parents who admit that they would teach their children that certain groups aren’t good people.

  • Peter Mahoney

    I think that the views/opinions/beliefs of the prospective parents SHOULD be a factor in determining if they are a good fit for adopting.

    What if their belief was that black children and girls are inherently vastly inferior to white boys?? Should the government agency endorse having those parents be GIVEN kids who are black or female (or even should they raise white boys, teaching them of their false superiority)?

    While the beliefs of the prospective parents would not be the ONLY factor considered, there is no reason why it should not be ONE of the factors.

    The gov’t does not assign your birth children to you, but gov’t DOES actively assign children for adoption, and thus has a duty to do due diligence in screening for a variety of factors in the prospective parents. Those factors can be open for public and agency debate, which is how policies get made a revised.

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    MaryD

    This court case is remarkable and frightening, the couple have been discriminated against on the basis of what they thought, not what they did.

    Actually no. They are being told that the actions that they say that they would take bar them from acting as foster parents. We don’t allow people who say that they will beat children to foster either, even though they haven’t actually beaten any children.

    The idea that a child of 8 has a ‘sexuality’ is a joke, unless you are part of the gay-grooming mafia

    The couple were seeking to foster 5 to 10 year olds. Are you suggesting that children of this age range don’t have a gender or sexual identity. Granted they are too young to be sexually active but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t aware of their sexuality and aren’t forming their own sexual preferences. Indeed this age range is a particularly sensitive one where sexual identity is formed and initially expressed. Do you not consider it a negative for a child to be raised to consider gay people as “abominations” or other such bigoted terms?

  • Grimalkin

    I’m with Peter Mahoney. If the views are likely to lead to abuse, they absolutely should factor in to the decision. In this case, a maturing child in this household who discovers that s/he is gay will be subject to abuse – this is what the Johnses “opened their mouth” about.

    If an atheist accidentally “opened their mouth” about believing that all religious people are immoral and deserving of sadistic punishment, I would feel just as uncomfortable letting them foster/adopt lest the child in their care one day decide to convert.

    And that’s the difference. It’s not just about holding an unpopular opinion. It’s about believing that a certain group of people is deserving of whatever’s coming to them. People with such views, no matter where they fall on religions, political, ideological lines should not be handed the care of vulnerable people.

  • Stephen P

    Guys and gals: please pay attention for a moment. This court order DID NOT HAPPEN.

    Please go and take a look at the original ruling. In particular look at the conclusion, sections 107-109, and most particularly the words “For the reasons given in [107] we have concluded that we should make no order.” I repeat: “no order”.

    Gavin Drake has an interesting summary of the case.

    Essentially it appears that the Daily Telegraph decided to print some fringe Christian propaganda without first checking the facts of the case, and others like CBS took the story over from it, also without doing any checking.

  • Claudia

    Letting homophobic people adopt a potentially gay child is like letting racist people adopt without regard to the race of the child. There is about a 10% chance that a child placed with this couple would suffer psychological abuse (there’s a reason GLBT teens not accepted by their families have a suicide rate much higher than that of other teens). That’s way too high a chance, especially considering that foster children are often in delicate emotional situations to start with.

    If there was an atheist couple who believed and planned on communicating to their prospective foster children that everyone who is baptized is “dirty” and “infected with religion”, they shouldn’t be allowed to foster either. The first priority is that children placed in foster or forever homes are not in physical or psychological danger, for whatever reason.

  • Erp

    As others have pointed out this was about fostering and in this particular case relief (short-term) fostering.

    The case was also not so much about whether the couple should or should not be denied but whether their views on homosexuality even though they were ‘Christian’ based could be considered by the Social Services in making a decision. The court ruled that they could and now it is up to Social Services to make a decision (no decision had yet been made).

    I note that several British Christian groups support the decision.

    http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=108996

  • http://blog.noctua.org.uk/ Paul Wright

    H: Your reporting is inaccurate. The right wing press (and the Christian Legal Centre, whose press release most of them apparently copied) have completely mischaracteristed the judges’ decision here. The text of the judgement is very readable (though long) and spells out what happened. This blog post from Gavin Drake, a Christian journalist, also has it right as far as I can see, and is shorter.

    The couple and Derby council agreed to take their dispute to the court before the council had actually made any decision either way, so the court was being asked to decide on an abstract principle rather than it being the case, that, say, the couple had asked to foster and been refused. Both sides sought some kind of declaration from the court. The judges gave the barrister from the CLC a bit of a kicking for “various arguments, many of them couched in extravagant rhetoric, which, to speak plainly, are for the greater part, in our judgment, simply wrong as to the factual premises on which they are based and at best tendentious in their analysis of the issues”, which is kind of fun. But they declined to make any kind of order.

    In the process of deciding to do nothing, the court looked at other judgements recently where Christians have attempted to have their prejudices protected by law (my phrase, not the court’s), and concluded that those judgements were binding on them and correct. The question is not one of religion per se, but whether prejudice should be given special consideration because it derives from religion: the court concluded it should not.

    The question is about foster parents providing respite care, which is about giving the regular carers a break, not about full time foster care or out right adoption.

  • Ibis

    Not only would it be abuse if they happen to get a queer foster child, but it would be abuse for any child. Same as if they were white supremacists: worse if the child is black, but still bad if the child is white. A kid being placed in that home will be indoctrinated with the idea that homosexuality is immoral and, if that indoctrination sticks, will turn around and mirror that teaching when interacting with other kids. As a society, we’re trying to do away with bullying and discrimination of this kind, not foster it.

    We can’t do anything about abusive parents with natural children until they are found breaking the law, but at the very least we can hold foster parents and adoptive parents to a standard.

  • The Other Tom

    Hemant, I think your position on this is very badly thought out.

    The bible instructs parents to do a lot of things that our culture would today consider to be child abuse – beating the child with a stick, for example, or putting them to death if they are disrespectful to their parents. We know that a lot of christians claim to believe in the bible. We also know that the vast majority of them do not do these abusive things, so we can be reasonably comfortable allowing a christian to adopt a child without expecting they will put Junior to death the first time he mouths off at them.

    This couple, however, has expressed their direct intent to behave in one of these abusive manners – to teach their hypothetical child that homosexuality is evil. If a christian couple expressed direct intent to obey the bible’s instructions to beat and slaughter their child, would you allow them to adopt?

    Then why should this couple have the special privilege of adopting after having expressed intent to be abusive to their child?

  • http://www.raywhiting.com/MyLife Raytheist

    In one of the many articles about this story, the problem arose when this couple let it be known that if a same-sex couple were in consideration for adopting a child in their foster care, they would not allow that couple to enter their home to meet the child. That is, they would actively interfere with a same-sex couple’s legitimate right to adopt. They are not in trouble for holding their beliefs. They are singled out because they would allow their personal beliefs to impact other peoples’ rights to adopt. (and I wish I could locate that article where this was spelled out.)

  • Frank

    a couple of points:
    1. people do NOT choose their religion. They may choose their church, but beliefs are not a choice.
    2. I don’t think Mr Daly was necessarily lying. I imagine he views the belief that homosexuality is wrong to be a necessary part of christianity. If you do not believe that homosexuality is wrong, then according to Mr Daly, by definition, you are not a christian. Given that definition of ‘christianity,’ a ruling that says a person who believes homosexuality is wrong cannot adopt is a ruling that says a christian cannot adopt, even if it contains protestations to the contrary. So I think That Mr Daly and the judge may simply be using the word ‘christian’ in different senses.

    However one wishes to define the word christianity, Mr Daly is correct in pointing out that this ruling does discriminate against people based on a belief that they hold. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I would favor a policy against allowing adoption by people who believe that corporal punishment is a necessary part of good parenting. But it is something that we need to acknowledge and consider.

  • Janice in Toronto

    So ignorant bigots cannot have an impressionable child to poison?

    Seems reasonable to me.

    Religion poisons everything.

  • Erp

    BTW I highly recommend reading the decision. It is a great example of skewering.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    I’m siding with the court on this one.

    Homophobes, racists, and the like should NOT be allowed to adopt, because they WILL do irreparable psychological harm to the children.

    This isn’t about their Christian faith.

    This is about their belief that some people are more equal than others.

  • Danitoba

    Stephan P,

    I think you misread the judgment, the couple asked for judicial relief, asking the Judge to overrule social services. The Judge refused to order social services to do so. (i.e no order)

    I also disagree with the gist of the conversation. In Manitoba, where I live we have a terrible shortage of qualified foster parents.

    The majority of children requiring foster care come from the Indian reservations where 3rd world conditions persist. At the same time, the majority of safe foster homes are not on those reserves. However until very recently finding a “culturally appropriate” home took precedence over physical security. The few “culturally appropriate” foster homes are overwhelmed past the breaking point.

    As a result we have had a shocking number of deaths and abuse in foster care. The worst example Phoenix Sinclair will break your heart.

    In sum, where there is a shortage, safe, disciplined foster parents ought to be used regardless of religious beliefs.

  • http://madhominem.wordpress.com/ Mad Hominem

    Reasonable atheist parents, I think, wouldn’t *prevent* the kids from going to church if they were interested. (Hopefully they would explain why they don’t believe and leave it up to them to decide as they get older — but watch out for signs of coercion into religion by their peers/authority figures.)

    For contrast, these are the kind of people who will tell children they are sick and sinful for an identity they had no way to choose, and who would probably put such children in reparative therapy or similar counseling to get them to at least closet themselves, if not internalize the idea they’re guilty.

    The fact is that while I think religious indoctrination is damaging in general, forcing homophobic and transgender-phobic garbage on vulnerable youth leads to a suicide rate that is frighteningly higher for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender youth, as compared to the general youth population; and if the kids aren’t LGBT, they’re still growing up in an atmosphere that implies builling LGBTs is okay. You don’t have to get a license to birth children, but with adoption and fostering, where the state definitely has an interest in making sure kids go to the best environment possible, it’s a moral imperative to keep those kids safe in both body and mind.

  • jenea

    I find myself completely distracted by this: “the Church of England permits its clergy, so long as they remain celibate, to enter into civil partnerships.”

    Is that true?! Can anyone point me to some information about that?

  • Dan

    Claudia:

    “Letting homophobic people adopt a potentially gay child is like letting racist people adopt without regard to the race of the child.”

    Well said, Claudia! I agree.

  • Deiloh

    In my neck of the woods, there exists a foundation that will pay some of the adoption court fees for Christians so that more children can be brought up with good Christian values. Word of mouth so don’t know much about the organization or what the screening process is like. Anytime I hear about good Christian values, the hair on the back of my neck stands up.

    Foster parents are allowed to be bigoted so long as they make that known to the social workers. Not because this is a wanted situation, there are fewer homes than children. Those in charge of placement are supposed to help make sure bad placements do not happen and foster parents are supposed to speak up if a placement is going to be a problem. Of course, with young or traumatized homosexual children, a bad placement might be made before sexuality information is known.

    As a foster parent, I would say that there is a lot good about the foster system and I’d highly recommend it for those able. But like any system, it can also be pretty effed up.

  • Jaymz

    The question that should be asked is if we substituted the word “homosexuality” for “blacks” would this still be a subject for debate? I think not. In either case it reveals an intolerance that demonstrates, quite plainly, that these people are unfit to be parents.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    @Frank — No. People DO choose their religion.

  • Dan

    All we wanted was to offer a loving home to a child in need

    But that isn’t true. If the child is gay, you wouldn’t accept that. Even if the child were straight, refusing to tell them that their gay friend is doing the right thing is also not offering a loving environment. It’s creating an environment of separatism. It’s telling the child that their gay friend is not as good of a person. None of this resembles a loving home.

    Also, as open Christians who wear their belief on their sleeve, they’ll tell the child he or she was born evil and must repent. If they aren’t doing that then they aren’t following the faith the claim to be a part of. In which case they lied, and that would be another reason not to allow them to adopt.

    We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing

    Are they not considering that the child they say that to is gay themself? If they really aren’t considering that as an possibility, do you think they are mentally fit enough to have a foster child? If they’re that in the dark about the varieties of personality and sexuality that may be part of the child they’re taking in – how can they be fit to have children walk through their door?

    We feel excluded and that there is no place for us in society.

    Well now you get to feel the same way as the homosexuals you condemn. Doesn’t feel like you’re being loved does it? So think about that. You now have personal experience with the NON-LOVING feeling that comes from being told you’re not wanted in society -which is exactly what you’re suggesting when you say homosexuality is wrong.

    A lot of people have stated this, and I’d like to repeat it, and add my own comment. This is specifically about how they would treat a homosexual. It doesn’t matter if they are Christian or not – it’s a matter of how they would UN-LOVE a gay child, or brainwash a straight child who might have had the chance to grow up loving homosexuals.

    But it shouldn’t be a surprise that their anti-loving comments come from being religious. It’s in religious households where you find the most condemnation of outsiders, people who are different.

    Commenter Claudia equated this allowing racist people adopt regardless of the race of the child. I agree. If you know the family is religious, I think it’s completely fair to follow up and ask their views on homosexuality, and even their stance on other peoples belief systems. If the child truly rejects the idea of a god, will the foster parents try to change their mind?

    HERE IS MY BIGGEST PROBLEM:
    These are FOSTER PARENTS. That is a TEMPORARY position. I refuse to allow a foster parent to choose how to brainwash a child before the child is adopted by another family.

    It is ridiculous for these people to think they have the right to turn straight children into homophobes, and to tell non-believing children that they’re wrong to reject god (if they ever do that – which if not happening with this couple may happen with other religious foster parents). This is not the job of a foster parent. The actual parents are the ones who should raise their child.

    Though I do admit… if the final parent wants to raise the child as a homophobe that they should be ruled unfit as well.

  • Villa

    I think this comes down to ‘real beliefs’ versus ‘stated beliefs’. A lot of the time professions of faith are just shibboleths. People say the bible is literal because they want to identify with a group. Not because they’ve necessarily read or agree with it.

    So, the vast majority of time, people can say anything about their religious beliefs, and it doesn’t tell us all that much about their actions.

    Some times, their stated beliefs do reflect their actual beliefs. And here we could have problem.

    These parents assert that they have a problem with gay children. And it doesn’t seem to be dismissable as yet another thing that people say but don’t practice. So, that makes them unfit. Why should it matter if the belief has a religious origin?

  • hnutzak

    READ THIS and then tell me that children aged 8 to 10 have no sexuality.

  • matt
  • Robert W.

    Claudia,

    The first priority is that children placed in foster or forever homes are not in physical or psychological danger, for whatever reason.

    Agreed, but here then is the issue. Who decides what religious belief or lack of a religious belief is harmful? Once you get into the realm of people’s beliefs in this nature as a basis for something that can cause harm, you are in for problems. First, there is no indication that these people were anything but loving and caring people. There appears to be no evidence that they ever injured a child emotionally, psychologically or physically. So what they are being told is that since you believe a certain way and may pass that belief onto children, you are unfit. That is a very dangerous precedent to set.

    Say for example a Hindu vegetarian wanted to be a foster parent but would never have meat in the house, is that harmful? Or if a Muslim wanted to foster but believed that any girl they fostered should cover their heads in public? Or an atheist who wanted to foster but thought that any talk of religion was nonsense and told that to a child who had faith?

    For all the talk from the court that they were not saying it was these people’s beliefs that they were holding was wrong, they specifically said they couldn’t practice those beliefs when it came to fostering children. Its legal slight of hand at its best.

  • http://krissthesexyatheist.blogspot.com/ krissthesexyatheist

    There are two thingies going on here, 1) do they have the legal right, and 2)is it correct to raise the child homophobic. Deff. #2 is wrong, but #1? It’s very big brother-ish and as you pointed out, it’s not fair when it happens to Team A.

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    jenea

    I find myself completely distracted by this: “the Church of England permits its clergy, so long as they remain celibate, to enter into civil partnerships.”

    Is that true?! Can anyone point me to some information about that?

    It is a bit of a tricky thing to declare. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has repeatedly stated that celibacy is not required and has appointed openly gay priests. He falls short of supporting gay marriage though.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_coe.htm

  • http://ottodestruct.com Otto

    … I don’t get this one, Hemant. I agree with the court, prejudiced people shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children.

    Whether they are Christian or not doesn’t make a bit of difference, but when they flat out admit to being discriminatory bigots, then their religion doesn’t really enter into it.

  • CanadianNihilist

    I don’t know why Hemant is against this? Why should anyone be allowed to adopt a child to preach hate and ignorance to it?

    We all know what happens to kids when they learn these morals. They grow up to be hate mongering bigots at best and at worse gay bashing murders.
    And don’t even fucking try to tell me that gay people don’t get beaten to death anymore. It still happens, and it’s cause of parents like these.
    Now that they’ve admitted it they should have their other kids taken away.

  • rcn2

    I’m curious why this statement is given any weight:

    “for one, you choose your religion, but not your sexual orientation”

    So? What if you could choose your sexual orientation? Wouldn’t it still be okay to be gay? There are some psychological disorders that turn people, for lack of a better work, evil and without empathy. They certainly don’t have a choice in the matter – does their lack of choice make them any less dangerous?

    I find the “it’s not a choice it’s biology” evidence of a hidden prejudice. “Being gay isn’t okay, but as long as they didn’t choose that lifestyle – I guess I’ll accept it” is the subtle undertone. I’m sure that’s not what people consciously think, but that seems to be a reasonable inference.

    Choice, no choice, what’s the difference? What if the universe was different and a scientific discovery tomorrow determined that events when you were very young determined your sexual orientation, such that all young people now had a choice. Would it be okay to discourage that choice, now that it’s not biology?

  • Claudia

    Agreed, but here then is the issue. Who decides what religious belief or lack of a religious belief is harmful?

    I don’t think it should be a matter of what religious beliefs are and are not acceptable, but what behaviors are and are not acceptable, regardless of their origin.

    You are correct that it’s not always easy to establish a good limit and almost impossible for any society to do it without injecting at least some of the societies own widely held beliefs into it. I think you would agree that placing a black baby inside a neo-Nazi home would be a bad idea. The child would be brought up to believe him or herself inferior and dirty. Now, as a thought experiment imagine that race only became clear in humans during adolescence. Would you place a child with a neo-Nazi family (even one that promised not to mistreat any child) if there was aroun a 10% chance that the child would turn out to be black?

    Of course, this can get tricky. I think your example of a Muslim family is a very good one. A moderate family that brought up daughters Muslim but with the full benefits of education and choice in their lifestyle seems perfectly fine. A radical family that would force a girl into a burqua the minute she hit puberty and force her to marry a much older man she didn’t know is totally unacceptable. The problem is where you draw the line.

    I think in this case (which actually appears to be much less inflamatory than first supposed) the line was correctly drawn because multiple studies have shown that GLBT kids with families that don’t accept them are at considerably higher risk for suicide than straight kids. Hence, there is empirical evidence that there would be a significant risk of psychological harm to children placed in the home. However I would agree that these sorts of cases require very strict scrutiny to ensure that the best interest of the child is what’s at play, and not disapproval of the parents.

  • e.ebullient

    Hemant, I understand that this could seem like bigotry against Christians. But as others have pointed out, it’s really all about the welfare of the child. Adults don’t have a “right” to adopt, it’s children that have a right to a supportive upbringing.

    “LGBT children whose families refuse to accept their sexualities—and they represent a large chunk of the kids in foster care—are eight times likelier to attempt suicide than kids whose families accept them.” Don’t you think that placing a potentially gay child in a household that may make him or her more likely to commit suicide makes that household a bad fit? That quote is from Dan Savage’s take on the court decision, and he makes an excellent point – that if one of every 10 children grew up to black, we wouldn’t be okay with placing children with white supremacist foster/adoptive parents. It would be seen as allowing a risk of psychological/emotional abuse to those children that would grow up to become that which their family hates. Why is this different?

    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/02/28/if-a-certain-relatively-set-percentage-of-infants-grew-up-to-be-black

    (And for what it’s worth, I’m a Christian saying that this isn’t a case of being discriminated against for your religious beliefs – because there are plenty of Christians that don’t believe homosexuality is a sin, and do believe that gay kids should grow up knowing they are loved and will find love.)

  • cat

    The ruling says that bigots who intend to foist bigotry on foster children cannot foster. That simple. The source of this couple’s bigotry being religion does not matter. Religion does not give you a get out of jail free card to do whatever bigoted shit you please.

    There is a difference between being an atheist and being a bigot. For one, while an atheist thinks that religions are factually wrong, very few atheists actually would teach a child that all religious people are evil and disown any religious children that they had. It does not follow from merely being an atheist that they person will coerce the child, just as it does not follow from the couple here’s heterosexuality that they would coerce the child. It is the active behavior, not the passive state that is the reason.

  • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

    Actually, if atheist foster parents would stop a foster child that is already religious from worshipping, I’d see that as a reason for disqualifying them as foster parents too.

    In the Time article you link to, however, the mere fact of them being atheists, and that they were not going to give their adopted infant a religious upbringing was enough to condemn them. The judge there was trying to turn the right to worship into the duty to worship, which is wrong on many, many levels.

    The two cases therefore aren’t analogous at all, and not just because being gay is not a choice and religion might be. Which is besides the point anyway – even if being gay were a choice, it would still be wrong for foster parents to reject children that happen to be gay.

  • Beck

    I think these quotes from the ruling pretty much sum it up.

    (Note: to those who are pitching fits because the couple has been “forbidden” from fostering, do try reading the facts. They haven’t even requested to foster a child, and NO DECISION WAS MADE.)

    It is hard to know where to start with this travesty of the reality. All we can do is to state, with all the power at our command, that the views that Mr Diamond seeks to impute to others have no part in the thinking of either the defendant or the court. We are simply not here concerned with the grant or denial of State ‘benefits’ to the claimants. No one is asserting that Christians (or, for that matter, Jews or Muslims) are not ‘fit and proper’ persons to foster or adopt. No one is contending for a blanket ban. No one is seeking to de-legitimise Christianity or any other faith or belief. No one is seeking to force Christians or adherents of other faiths into the closet. No one is asserting that the claimants are bigots. No one is seeking to give Christians, Jews or Muslims or, indeed, peoples of any faith, a second class status. On the contrary, it is fundamental to our law, to our polity and to our way of life, that everyone is equal: equal before the law and equal as a human being endowed with reason and entitled to dignity and respect.

    In the circumstances we cannot avoid the need to re-state what ought to be, but seemingly are not, well understood principles regulating the relationship of religion and law in our society. We preface what follows with the obvious point that we live in this country in a democratic and pluralistic society, in a secular state not a theocracy.

    In these circumstances it is quite impossible to maintain that a local authority is not entitled to consider a prospective foster carer’s views on sexuality, least of all when, as here, it is apparent that the views held, and expressed, by the claimants might well affect their behaviour as foster carers. This is not a prying intervention into mere belief. Neither the local authority nor the court is seeking to open windows into people’s souls. The local authority is entitled to explore the extent to which prospective foster carers’ beliefs may affect their behaviour, their treatment of a child being fostered by them.

    Moreover, in the present context, it is common ground that there is no right to foster

    We have stated our misgivings about the exercise of the jurisdiction to consider whether to grant any (and if so what) declaratory relief. The defendant has taken no decision and there is likely to be a broad range of factual contexts for reaching a particular decision, the legality of which will be highly fact-sensitive.

    For the reasons given [above] we have concluded that we should make no order

    Hemant, what can you possibly object to in this decision? A couple who specifically said they would “try to gently turn” a queer child, would do nothing to prevent a child in their care from bullying LGBTQ children, and would force the child to attend church twice each Sunday with them regardless of the child’s religious beliefs or lack thereof– this couple was told that they would likely not be approved due to these facts, and chose to then seek a decision from the courts, which was refused to them. What is wrong here?

    EVEN IF they had been forbidden from fostering, I still agree 100% with that decision.

    If an atheist parent said they would mock a religious child, tell them that all theists are wrong, intrinsically evil, etc, and force the child to attend anti-religious gatherings with them, a judge sure as hell wouldn’t let them foster either, and I wouldn’t be complaining.

  • Ryan

    Hemant (and while we’re at it, MaryD)

    Most of what I wanted to say has already been said to death here, so I’ll spare you.

    But clearly, neither of you has any idea what it’s like to grow up gay. I had those influences in my life–the Christian, and the homophobic–and I can tell you which did the most damage to my emotional and psychological health.

    My parents still go to church, but they’re good people, and you know full well that Christianity is not why the Johns (in this apparently fictional scenario) were denied foster children. If the homophobic elements of my extended family had been the ones in charge of my welfare, I don’t know if I would have survived my adolescence.

    Hemant, you are usually so reasonable and sensitive to the problems facing the LGBT community, but you really dropped the ball on this one. Homophobia in a child’s upbringing constitutes abuse, and putting a child in the care of a homophobe is playing Russian roulette with that child’s life.

  • RPJ

    It sounds like the Jones’ biggest crime was opening their mouth when they shouldn’t have.

    Yes. If they’d kept their mouth shut, then theyc oulkd have indoctrinated or oppresseed their children as they saw fit. In stead, since they delcared that theuy’d be unfit (pwsychologically abuse) certain kinds of children, they were deeemed unfit for the adoption process. This is good.

    You wouldn’rt want someone who decalred they stick their p[enis is in girls from 5-134 years old as a parent, even for young boys, surely? then there’s no reason to risk children who ight be gay with parents who admit they would psychologically abuse these children.

    Christinaity is only rleevant insofar as most chrustians beleive their religious entitles them to absue certain people. The operative fact is that this couple feels entitleed to abuse certain people.

  • Daniel

    There is a huge difference between foster parenting and adopting. When someone adopts a child they have all the same rights to raise the child as they do other biological children. Foster parents are temporarily taking care of children who are the wards of the state (and are reimbursed with taxpayer money). Since the state is ultimately responsible for foster children than it is perfectly reasonable for them to have some ground rules that foster parents must follow.

    I read some about this story and my understanding was that the state law says that foster parents simply have to teach their children not to discriminate against homosexuals. The foster parents didn’t have to say that homosexuality was moral and a good lifestyle, they only had to tell their children that discrimination against homosexuals was wrong. These Christians wouldn’t even do that.

    Since foster children are wards of the state then the state should be able to not allow foster parents to teach children to discriminate against people. If these were atheist parents who refused to teach their children not to illegally discriminate against religious people, as the law requires, than I wouldn’t have a problem with them also losing their rights to temporarily care for foster children.

    Again, everyone needs to understand that this case was NOT about adoption, it was about if these homophobic people were fit to temporarily take care of wards of the state. Huge difference.

  • Robert W.

    Beck,

    Hemant, what can you possibly object to in this decision? A couple who specifically said they would “try to gently turn” a queer child, would do nothing to prevent a child in their care from bullying LGBTQ children, and would force the child to attend church twice each Sunday with them regardless of the child’s religious beliefs or lack thereof– this couple was told that they would likely not be approved due to these facts, and chose to then seek a decision from the courts, which was refused to them. What is wrong here?

    Reverse it- What if the homosexual couple was prevented from fostering because they would tell a child that the homosexual lifestyle was ok and the case worker thought that it wasn’t? Would you have the same belief that the ruling was correct?

  • Lion IRC

    Gay people assert their right to speak out in defence a particular form of sexuality.

    I equally assert my free speech right to express an opposite view to theirs.

    But of course the issue here isnt about free speech rights but
    …the rights of the child.

  • Jagyr

    Robert W -

    That’s NOT the reverse situation. The reverse would be if a gay couple said they would raise a foster child with the belief that heterosexuals are evil sinners and that they would try to turn straight kids gay.

    Besides which, homosexuality is not a lifestyle, and the human rights of 10% of the population are not a matter of opinion.

  • Daniel

    Robert W,

    Your example was in no way equivalent to this situation. This isn’t like a gay foster parent telling a child that homosexuality was OK.

    It would be like homosexual foster parents saying that if their foster child was straight they would try to turn him gay, teach him that it was ok to bully and discriminate against straight kids, and wouldn’t allow the child to go to any church, even if they wanted too.

    I would say they would be unacceptable as foster parents. In the same way, Christian foster parents who will force their foster children to go to church, teach them that it is OK to discriminate and bully gay kids, and that try to change their sexuality are not qualified to temporarily take care of wards of the state and receive taxpayer money in compensation.

  • TikiCricket

    Robert W,

    That’s not an accurate comparison. If the situation arose that a homosexual couple was prevented from fostering because they had every intention of telling children in their care that heterosexuality is immoral, and that they would attempt to “gently turn” a heterosexual child, then of course it would be unacceptable for them to foster. The case worker’s personal feelings have nothing to do with this. There are mountains of data and research that validate homosexuality as natural–it’s not considered a mental disease or shortcoming by the scientific community by any stretch of the imagination. Assigning children to foster homes is not a wishy-washy decision shaped by a case worker’s background and personally held beliefs–it is based on facts and data that have consistently shown to lead to placement that is in the best interests of the child.

  • TikiCricket

    HA, guess I was a little late to that party! Sorry for piling on.

  • Robert W.

    Jagyr and Daniel,

    Before you start saying that this couple wanted to teach that it was okay to bully kids, let me remind you what they said:

    “We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing.”

    Nowhere in the evidence we have does it say that these people taught discrimination or bullying, only that in their moral beliefs that homosexuality is not a good thing. They were told they couldn’t be foster children if they had that belief.

    So if a homosexual couple wanted to tell a child that homosexuality was a good thing and the case worker thought otherwise and told then they couldn’t be foster parents, would you still support the ruling?

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Robert W. Says:

    Reverse it- What if the homosexual couple was prevented from fostering because they would tell a child that the homosexual lifestyle was ok and the case worker thought that it wasn’t? Would you have the same belief that the ruling was correct?

    In the hypothetical case that you provide the case worker would be the one breaking the law.

    In the UK the law provide that homosexuality is “ok” and that discriminating against that is a breech of the law. To be frank I’d be surprised if the US doesn’t protect it’s citizens in the same way.

    Lion IRC

    I equally assert my free speech right to express an opposite view to theirs.

    One of the great things about the USA is that your right to do so is protected. That says nothing about your suitability to act as a foster parent.

    But of course the issue here isnt about free speech rights but…the rights of the child.

    Exactly right. The rights of the child are decided by the state. Not the church.

  • Frank

    WMDKitty,

    Would you care to explain how people choose their religious beliefs? Did you choose to believe that Barack Obama is the president? Could you choose to believe that Stephen Colbert was the president just as easily?

  • Daniel

    Robert W,

    You don’t have the facts. They specifically said that if they had a gay child they would try to turn him straight, and also that they would require them to go to church whether they wanted to or not. So yes, the parents said they would love any child, but part of that “love” would be to try to switch their sexuality and force them to become religious.

    The specific law in the UK that the parents said they wouldn’t abide by is a law that says foster parents must teach their children not to discriminate against homosexuals. These parents refused to teach their foster children not to discriminate against homosexuals. These foster parents said they wouldn’t abide by the laws governing foster parents, so the state basically said “fine, if you won’t abide by the law then we will not temporarily allow you to watch wards of the state and pay you taxpayer money for it.”

    How is that not rational? Would you support foster parents who said they wouldn’t follow a law saying that they should teach their foster children not to discriminate against minorities? Do you think all bigots have the right to receive taxpayer money for foster care despite ignoring the law? Why make an exception for homophobics?

  • Carlie

    Again, the couple has no rights in this case to even be under consideration. The sole consideration of the state in placing children into foster homes is with the rights of the child. Those trump everything, and those are why foster parents have to go through such strict screening. Their views are discriminatory towards part of the population, and therefore children should not be placed with them because they may be a) a member of that group the couple discriminates against or b)be taught to discriminate against others themselves.

  • Jagyr

    Robert W -

    Read more of the sources listed in the comments. This couple has stated that they would
    - not acknowledge that homosexuality is good or decent
    - not stop foster child A from harassing foster child B if the harassment was anti-gay
    - not allow state-approved adoptive parents to visit a potential child if the parents were gay
    - force their foster children to attend church twice weekly, regardless of the beliefs or feelings of the child

    Your analogy is false. Stop pretending that bigotry is as valid an opinion as acceptance.

    So if a homosexual couple wanted to tell a child that homosexuality was a good thing and the case worker thought otherwise and told then they couldn’t be foster parents, would you still support the ruling?

    As I have pointed out, and as hoverfrog has pointed out, this is in no way the same thing. But forgetting that for the moment – in your hypothetical situation, I would side with the parents, because the case worker is being discriminatory and is BREAKING THE LAW.
    Just like in the original case I sided with the court, because the parents were being discriminatory and were BREAKING THE LAW.

    That’s the point you need to understand. I (and the posters here who agree with me) are coming down on the side of the law. You can claim that “civil rights” is just the other side of the coin as “bigotry” all day long, but you’re wrong, and the law disagrees with you.
    Just because there are two opposite views doesn’t mean the answer lies somewhere between them. It is possible for one to be right and the other to be wrong. The fallacy of moderation is what leads to things like the Three-Fifths Compromise.

  • Jagyr

    Frank:

    WMDKitty,

    Would you care to explain how people choose their religious beliefs? Did you choose to believe that Barack Obama is the president? Could you choose to believe that Stephen Colbert was the president just as easily?

    I’m not WMDKitty, but I’ll take a stab here. I have the feeling your question is facetious, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.
    The examples you give are not examples of religious belief or things taken on faith – they are claims which are testable and falsifiable.
    Religious belief is different. Many people inherit the religion they were raised in. Many others leave that faith behind and choose a different faith, or none at all. I know many people who have tried several different belief systems before finally choosing the one that they felt most at home in.
    Ask Matt Dillahunty or any other atheist that abandoned their former faith through reason and critical thinking, and you will find that there are many people who can examine their beliefs and make the decision to choose something else. Many fundamentalist Christians have made this choice and become more moderate/liberal Christians, etc.
    Does that about answer your question?

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    But I would like to know why the Jones’ views are being singled out when many other Christian parents (who can easily adopt children) would likely teach their children that non-Christians are going to hell, or would ostracize the children if they left their faith, or would teach them that evolution is false and Creationism is correct. Is all that really any different than the Jones’ views that being gay is immoral?

    I agree. I’m having trouble seeing any difference here. As much as it disgusts me that parents might teach their children anti-gay views, how exactly is this different from parents who teach their children to believe in hell? Ignoring the specific situation in the UK for a moment, hell-believers make up a huge percentage of the American population. Statistically speaking, a hell-believing family who fosters or adopts has a much greater chance of raising a child who will grow up to identify as non-Christian than they do of raising a child who will grow up to identify as LGBT. I have read many stories here on Friendly Atheist (and elsewhere) of people who were traumatized and emotionally scarred because their parents taught them to believe in hell when they were small children. Many of those people still struggle with guilt and fear today. Is there a difference between being taught that gay people go to hell and being taught than anyone who isn’t “saved” goes to hell? From my perspective, it seems like it would be equally poisonous to young minds.

  • Samiimas

    That’s NOT the reverse situation. The reverse would be if a gay couple said they would raise a foster child with the belief that heterosexuals are evil sinners and that they would try to turn straight kids gay.

    Robert still has yet to respond to or even acknowledge this. I’m sure he will though, it’s not like Robert has a history of dishonesty and point-dodging…

    Seriously Robert, stop pretending you didn’t see this. You know damn well that the actual opposite of your scenario would be a homosexual couple telling their children that it’s impossible to be a good person as long as your straight.

    You know that and you refuse to acknowledge it because it reveals your giant, flaming double standards

  • http://defendingreason.wordpress.com/ Ben

    [edit] removed because I can’t find the source.

  • Jagyr

    Robert still has yet to respond to or even acknowledge this. I’m sure he will though, it’s not like Robert has a history of dishonesty and point-dodging…

    Ah, I see what you did there. :)

  • Beck

    Anna,

    In the first place, Hemant was incorrect. This couple was not trying to adopt, but to foster, and to foster extremely high-risk children, meaning children who have already been abused, battered and in some cases outright tortured.

    As multiple other commenters have pointed out, they would be paid to foster these children. They are essentially being hired as babysitters by the state, and the state has full moral and legal responsibility for these kids’ welfare. Just like you would if you were hiring someone to look after your own child, they have the right and duty to ensure that the caretakers are qualified. Discrimination against a legally protected group of people disqualifies this couple from fostering, just like an admitted plan of screaming at children would disqualify a babysitter.

    Any other person looking to foster children who tells Social Services point-blank that they will refuse to allow the child to learn natural history or science, will teach him/her to discriminate against all religions other than their own, and will emotionally abuse the child if he or she does not immediately adopt their religion would be denied. Why? Because the CHILD’S RIGHTS MATTER. No one, in the UK or the US, has a legal right to foster children. However, children in both countries are legally protected from abuse and neglect, and legally entitled to an education.

    I’m bi, and grew up in a family whose “love” made them brainwash me into believing that homosexuality was evil and repulsive, that sexuality, sensuality, and eroticism were shameful and dirty, and that it was “unclean” to look at another person in desire. (Unless the other person was of the same gender. Then it was an abomination, and too damn bad we can’t execute them any more.) The amount of damage that kind of constant rhetoric inflicts on a young child’s psyche is appalling. Emotional blackmail of this kind can leave permanent scars.

    Robert W., I’d love to hear you respond to what others have explained to you. I don’t think I need to add anything further.

  • Miko

    I think it’s important to focus on the rights of the child rather than the pigheadedness of the government. Believe it or not, children don’t like growing up in state orphanages, and if there is a family that is willing to adopt the child and provide her with a suitable home, the state has no right to prevent them from doing so.

    Those who are framing this as an issue of children “asserting their right” not to be raised by homophobes by instead staying in an orphanage ought to visit an orphanage ASAP and then rethink their premises. Lofty ideals are great, but the situation on the ground is that children are probably better off in just about any family (specifically, excluding those with domestic abuse issues) than they are with the state. In the end, children will make up their own mind (while their experiences will of course guide this) and being raised by anti-gay parents isn’t any more permanently scarring than being raised by gay parents is (which is to say, not at all).

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Beck,

    I understand that, and I wasn’t talking about the UK situation in my comment. My question was more general. Is there a difference between parents teaching hell belief for gay people and parents teaching hell belief for non-Christians? Should Christians who believe in hell (and communicate that to their children) be forbidden from adopting or fostering? To me, it seems to be the exact same kind of situation, although I am open to being persuaded otherwise.

    Any other person looking to foster children who tells Social Services point-blank that they will refuse to allow the child to learn natural history or science, will teach him/her to discriminate against all religions other than their own, and will emotionally abuse the child if he or she does not immediately adopt their religion would be denied. Why? Because the CHILD’S RIGHTS MATTER. No one, in the UK or the US, has a legal right to foster children. However, children in both countries are legally protected from abuse and neglect, and legally entitled to an education.

    Again, I have no comment on the UK situation. The story seems to be have been widely misreported and manipulated by people in the media who are anti-gay. In addition, the laws are different in the UK than they are in the United States. However, are you suggesting that creationists not be allowed to foster children? In the Bible Belt, I have a hard time imagining how that would work out. The vast majority of potential foster parents in those states are evangelical Christians who believe in creationism and take their foster children with them to church. I would imagine there are also many foster parents who homeschool their children with conservative Christian curriculum or send them to private church schools that teach creationist nonsense.

    I’m bi, and grew up in a family whose “love” made them brainwash me into believing that homosexuality was evil and repulsive, that sexuality, sensuality, and eroticism were shameful and dirty, and that it was “unclean” to look at another person in desire. (Unless the other person was of the same gender. Then it was an abomination, and too damn bad we can’t execute them any more.) The amount of damage that kind of constant rhetoric inflicts on a young child’s psyche is appalling. Emotional blackmail of this kind can leave permanent scars.

    I’m not disputing that. I agree that it is tragic. But is it more painful than being taught that you are headed for hell if you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? It seems to me that the emotional blackmail in both cases would be equally poisonous. As I said earlier, I have read many stories by atheists who are permanently scarred because their parents taught them to believe in and fear hell. Yet we don’t stop evangelical or fundamentalist Christians in general from fostering or adopting children and passing along those religious views to them.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    @Frank — Let’s see, I CHOSE not to be a Christian. I’ve CHOSEN a position of apathetic agnosticism. Likewise, a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, whatever, has CHOSEN to believe in their respective faith or philosophy.

    Barack Obama IS the POTUS, by free and fair election. (So that question is a cop-out.)

    @Jagyr — Precisely!

  • Erp

    Miko,

    In the case in point the plaintiffs (the couple) were seeking a judicial order that the state not even consider their views on how to act on the grounds that their views were religiously derived. The state deferred making a decision until the court ruled which in this case is that the state can consider how the couple intends to act if homosexuality is brought up. The state may still decide they are ok for short term relief fostering (which is all they were applying for) at the lower age range (e.g., a 5 year old whose single mother is in an accident until such time a relative is found or the mother recovers enough to make her own arrangements) though apparently they have plenty of people approved for short term fostering already.

    I strongly suggest reading the the decision as it lays out the facts and the arguments.

  • Sean Santos

    I have to say, given the specifics of their decision, I absolutely agree with the judge’s decision and disagree with Hemant.

    One would have some reservations about allowing a serious racist to foster. At the very least, one would not want white supremacists to care for a black child, or Neo-Nazis to care for an ethnically Jewish child.

    Even this dubious compromise is not possible with gay kids, because they are likely to develop their sexual identities in the middle of foster care (it’s not so rare to have one’s first suspicions of not being straight by age 10).

    One can’t interfere in people’s families willy-nilly. But once the State has a child within its power, I think it absolutely has the responsibility to take good care of the child. Particularly with respect to foster care (which is not the same as adoption), the child’s welfare and rights trump parents’ privilege and desire to be generous. Across the board.

    I also want to say that people often underestimate the risk to gay kids by homophobic parents (and these two are doozies: Pentacostals who think the gay can be prayed away). There’s increased risk of depression, drug use, and suicide associated with parental rejection of suicide. For adolescents (who, granted, the Johns were not applying to foster) there is great psychological risk from ex-gay and curative therapies, as well as threatened or outright violence or abuse, or ejection from the home. I’ve seen parents who seemed like quite good and loving parents do some of these extreme things, simply because they freaked out or panicked, thinking that their child’s health or afterlife was in danger, or worrying that an older child would abuse a younger one (based on nothing other than beliefs about “what those people do”).

    Tough luck to the Johnses; unless that area is really, really desperate for foster parents, the State should not be gambling with a child’s welfare by putting the child in such a situation. They probably would make good foster parents to most kids, but there’s serious harm lying behind that minority probability.

  • Sean Santos

    *sigh*, mixed up my nouns, like usual. It should be:

    “There’s increased risk of depression, drug use, and suicide associated with parental rejection of one’s sexuality.”

  • http://~ AxeGrrl

    libratheist wrote:

    Their right to believe being gay is sunful is curtailed by the right of a child (from a troubled background anyway), placed in a foster home to be supported and loved no matter what.

    I’ve just begun to tuck into this thread, but I can’t imagine that there will be a point better than this one.

  • http://~ AxeGrrl

    Claudia wrote:

    Letting homophobic people adopt a potentially gay child is like letting racist people adopt without regard to the race of the child. There is about a 10% chance that a child placed with this couple would suffer psychological abuse (there’s a reason GLBT teens not accepted by their families have a suicide rate much higher than that of other teens). That’s way too high a chance, especially considering that foster children are often in delicate emotional situations to start with.

    If there was an atheist couple who believed and planned on communicating to their prospective foster children that everyone who is baptized is “dirty” and “infected with religion”, they shouldn’t be allowed to foster either. The first priority is that children placed in foster or forever homes are not in physical or psychological danger, for whatever reason.

    This.

  • http://~ AxeGrrl

    Dan wrote:

    We feel excluded and that there is no place for us in society.

    Well now you get to feel the same way as the homosexuals you condemn. Doesn’t feel like you’re being loved does it? So think about that. You now have personal experience with the NON-LOVING feeling that comes from being told you’re not wanted in society -which is exactly what you’re suggesting when you say homosexuality is wrong.

    A lot of people have stated this, and I’d like to repeat it, and add my own comment. This is specifically about how they would treat a homosexual. It doesn’t matter if they are Christian or not – it’s a matter of how they would UN-LOVE a gay child, or brainwash a straight child who might have had the chance to grow up loving homosexuals.

    Fantastic post Dan!

  • Aj

    The state in Britain pounces on homophobia rigorously, but doesn’t have a problem with a lot of other equally bad beliefs and actions. Recently a man was made to resign from a drugs advice committee for homophobic views, even though he had a myriad of crazy views that should have disqualified him, some of which were related to drugs. Homosexuals are a protected class of people in the law. This decision is in line with the government’s stance.

    These people’s beliefs should be taken into account. The government cannot and should not be value neutral, being a foster parent is not a right. Being homophobic or racist should disqualify people from being foster parents. Fostering shouldn’t be a platform for promoting irrational beliefs. Religion might be the source, but it’s irrelevant to how this issue should be treated. If a secular person cannot do it, then religion shouldn’t be exempt from the same treatment, “freedom of religion” is bullshit. It’s either covered in the other rights, or it’s not a right.

  • Jagyr

    Anna -

    I believe that parents who plan on emotionally abusing their children with threats of hellfire and eternal torment probably shouldn’t be allowed to foster a child from a broken home. I think the argument would have a harder time standing up in court though, because the threats are theological in nature.

  • Gib

    You said: “It sounds like the Jones’ biggest crime was opening their mouth when they shouldn’t have.”

    No – their crime was being homophobes. The reason they were found out was that they opened their mouths.

    That’s like saying my biggest crime was driving down the freeway (where the police sobriety testers were stationed) rather than my actual drinking and driving in the first place.

    The fact that other people get away with the crime doesn’t change the crime to being that which gets you caught……

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Jagyr,

    I believe that parents who plan on emotionally abusing their children with threats of hellfire and eternal torment probably shouldn’t be allowed to foster a child from a broken home. I think the argument would have a harder time standing up in court though, because the threats are theological in nature.

    That’s my problem with the whole situation. In the United States, I don’t see how this could possibly be enforced without trampling all over freedom of religion. Theological threats may certainly be emotionally coercive (even abusive), but they’re protected by the First Amendment. I agree that parents who believe in hellfire are doing psychological damage to their children, but the law sets the bar quite high with regard to parental rights. In short, bad parenting isn’t against the law. You can feed your child nothing but junk food. You can teach your child to be racist. You can spank your child or even apply “biblical discipline” of the type James Dobson promotes as long as you don’t leave marks or bruises.

    I do think the rules for foster parents are much stricter (and with good reason) than rules for children who are born or legally adopted to their parents. In some (most? all?) states, it is forbidden for foster parents to strike a child in their care. You can’t take a foster child out of state without permission. I believe it’s also against the law to publicly reveal your foster child’s identity to the media, as the child is not legally yours. With that in mind, it seems prudent to forbid people who are unwilling to respect a foster child’s background and the wishes of the biological parents. But I routinely hear stories of foster parents raising children to follow the religion of the foster family, and that would certainly include teaching them about the concepts of salvation, damnation, and hell.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    WMDKitty,

    Let’s see, I CHOSE not to be a Christian. I’ve CHOSEN a position of apathetic agnosticism. Likewise, a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, whatever, has CHOSEN to believe in their respective faith or philosophy.

    I’m with Frank on this one. I don’t see how it’s possible for someone to choose what to believe. People can become convinced one way or the other, but that’s not a conscious choice. I didn’t choose to be an atheist, and I doubt that 99% of theists chose to believe in their deity or deities. The vast majority of them were indoctrinated as babies and toddlers. You can choose to keep an open mind and investigate all points of view, but you can’t choose whether or not you’re convinced by the evidence. I could align myself with a Christian church, attend services, and follow all the rules, but I couldn’t actually force myself to believe in their supernatural claims if I didn’t see evidence for them.

  • Beck

    @Anna,

    I agree that (At the moment, anyway) it would be impossible to prevent creationism and Hellfire from being taught to an adoptive child. However, there are varying degrees of such things. My own parents refused to allow real biology or history to be taught to any of their children, a decision which crippled my academic future and I am still trying to overcome. Other children’s parents taught them actual facts, and merely told them that “we believe in the Bible”. This, while still bad, is nowhere near as bad as the former example.

    Admittedly, I’m not overly familiar with the current fostering laws in the US, but if they don’t ensure that foster parents have to give the children a real education from legitimate science and history textbooks, they damn well should. We have laws regarding what’s taught in schools, and while it probably isn’t possible to prevent the foster parents from *also* teaching the child about Creationism, it would be a relatively simple thing to check up on the fact that the child is being educated.

    Birth parents have very strong rights to control how they raise their own child. This is sometimes unfortunate, but has overall worked very well for millenia. Obviously, as you mentioned, we can’t go about popping into private citizen’s homes and tell their children that the invisible man in the sky is as real as the Tooth Fairy. Adoptive parents also have pretty strong rights, but they do have to undergo some screening. In a private adoption, it’s pretty much up to the birth parent(s) to determine whether the couple is fit to raise the child. In a state adoption, hopeful parents have to prove that they are mentally, financially, physically and morally capable of raising a child. I don’t think it would curtail freedom of religion to have them sign something stating they would ensure that the child was fully educated at least through high school.

    Foster parents, again, have almost zero rights in this situation. They (and I don’t mean to bash them here, I know some wonderful people who foster) are essentially large-scale babysitters.

    The vast majority of potential foster parents in those states are evangelical Christians who believe in creationism and take their foster children with them to church. I would imagine there are also many foster parents who homeschool their children with conservative Christian curriculum or send them to private church schools that teach creationist nonsense.

    These are two different things. There’s a major difference, again, between properly educating a child while also informing them of your beliefs and brainwashing a child into your beliefs by withholding real-world knowledge from them and educating them only to a 4th-grade science & history level.

    Freedom of religion is important, but a child’s right to a proper education and a safe and loving home is more important. No, church-going, creation-believing Christian parents shouldn’t be blocked from fostering or adopting. But parents who specifically say that they will neglect or abuse a child in their care (and telling a gay child he will burn in hell for eternity, or a black child she is a lesser being, or a white girl that she can never be as good as a boy is abuse) most definitely should.

    I think you are seeing being a Christian and hating gays as the same thing. It’s increasingly *not* the same thing, nor does a literal interpretation of the Bible say to persecute or oppress LGBT people even if you believe they are immoral.

  • Jagyr

    @Anna

    I think we are both on the same page as far as understanding the legality of the situation and the difference between parental rights and the duties of a foster parent. But I think we differ on a key point, highlighted here:

    But I routinely hear stories of foster parents raising children to follow the religion of the foster family, and that would certainly include teaching them about the concepts of salvation, damnation, and hell.

    Yes, true. But the problem is not with the foster system here – it is with religion. I think that when a child’s psychological wellbeing comes into conflict with his foster parents’ right to freedom of religion, the child should always be put first.
    In fact, allowing Christians to make threats of hellfire and torture, but kicking out secular parents who make similar non-religious threats, is in my mind a privileging of religion by a government body and a violation of the Separation of C&S.

    I don’t see how it’s possible for someone to choose what to believe. People can become convinced one way or the other, but that’s not a conscious choice. I didn’t choose to be an atheist, and I doubt that 99% of theists chose to believe in their deity or deities. The vast majority of them were indoctrinated as babies and toddlers. You can choose to keep an open mind and investigate all points of view, but you can’t choose whether or not you’re convinced by the evidence.

    You make a good point. “Choose” was probably the wrong word to use. Maybe it’s better to say that one can change their beliefs at almost any time – they are not an inborn trait. Religious beliefs are just ideas, ideas that can change, disappear, or grow over time, often rapidly.
    Contrast this with sexual orientation, sex (physical), gender (mental), race, age – all traits that are inherent and cannot be changed save through extensive surgeries.

  • Alex

    “We feel excluded and that there is no place for us in society.”
    To me, that is the most important sentence here. Welcome to how every homosexual person feels all the time! Homosexual couples still can’t adopt at all in Britain as far as I know. There are few things in the world more absurd than a Christian with a victimization complex.

  • Jenny Bliss

    @Alex

    adoption has been legal in england and wales since 2005 and for scotland 2009

    EEK! quick edit, to adopt singley since 2002 but jointly since 2005 for england