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Reconciling religion and the ban 
on sexual orientation discrimination

Vicki Bowles returns to the long-running Catholic Care saga 

9 November 2012

Last week the Upper Tribunal refused the latest appeal in the long running litigation over the legitimacy of proposed amendments to the charitable objects of Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds). The proposed amendments would allow the charity to continue to discriminate lawfully against same-sex couples in placing children for adoption, bringing head to head the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the Equality Act 2010.

Equality legislation has prohibited discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in a case such as this since 2008, with an exception for charities that are acting in accordance with their charitable instruments. The oft-cited example of ‘appropriate’ discrimination is Girlguiding UK, which discriminates by only allowing girls into the organisation, but does so legitimately as a restriction that is in their governing document.

When the law was first d...

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