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Charity Tribunal rejects appeal by Catholic Care

27 April 2011

The Charity Tribunal has rejected Catholic Care’s appeal to amend its objects so that it can continue to restrict its services to heterosexual couples.

The latest defeat for the charity follows two rulings against it by the Charity Commission, in 2009 and 2010 (see solicitorsjournal.com, 19 August 2010).

The commission ruled that the proposed discrimination was not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim within the meaning of article 14 of the ECHR, which bans discrimination.

Delivering the decision of the Charity Tribunal in Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) v Charity Commission for England and Wales, Alison McKenna, principal judge, said the tribunal agreed with the commission’s approach.

“The commission’s decision took into account, appropriately in the tribunal’s view, the European authorities as to the disbenefit to society arising from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and the consequent requirement for particularly weighty reasons to permit it,” she said.

McKenna said that since the commission’s decision last year, the law had changed so that section 193 of the Equality Act 2010 applied, instead of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.

She said the charity had slightly changed its case at the tribunal hearing so that it described the legitimate aim as “the prospect of increasing the number of children placed with adoptive families”.

The charity argued that the discrimination proposed was proportionate to the achievement of this aim because it would take the form of denial of services to same-sex couples which would be available via other voluntary adoption agencies and local authorities.

Categorised in:

Discrimination Charities