Council reconsiders plan to place Catholic child with gay foster parents

Brighton and Hove Council have halted plans to place a ten-year-old Catholic boy in the care of gay foster parents against the wishes of his mother, after  a discussion  with her lawyer,  the Mail reported on Saturday.

The case was highlighted on 8 June, (see:  the day before the boy was due to arrive at his new home, a hotel in Brighton run by a middle-aged male couple.

Brighton and Hove Council has now told the mother it is reviewing its decision, after her lawyer argued that it was obliged to try to place the boy with foster parents of the same faith.

The boy is a practicing Catholic and his mother, who is too ill to look after him, wanted him to be fostered by heterosexual parents in line with Catholic teaching on the family.

She said: “I am so happy and relieved. So is my son. Our religion is very important to us.”

Barrister Neil Addison, from The Thomas More Legal Centre, a Catholic legal charity, argued that new equality laws that guarantee homosexuals ‘equal access to goods and services’, including fostering, can be overruled by older laws designed to protect children.

Mr Addis said: "hat I raised with the Council was to remind them of their legal duties under s22 of the Childrens Act 1989 which says

 "(4) Before making any decision with respect to a child whom they are looking after, or proposing to look after, a local authority shall, so far as is reasonably practicable, ascertain the wishes and feelings of - (a) the child;  (b) his parents; (5) In making any such decision a local authority shall give due  consideration - (c) to the child's religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and
linguistic background".
"I made the point that the placing of this practicing Catholic Child with a  same sex couple involved placing him in a situation which was  fundamentally contrary to Roman Catholic teaching and therefore contrary to their obligations under the Childrens Act."

For more information about the Thomas More Legal Centre see:

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