by Andrew Halloway
The Cornerstone Adoption and Fostering Service can continue its ‘Christians only’ policy after the High Court ruled in its favour.
Ofsted had tried to ban the England’s only evangelical Christian fostering agency from recruiting only Christian carers.
Cornerstone specialises in finding homes for “hard-to-place” children
The judge, Mr Justice Julian Knowles, dismissed Ofsted’s claim that Cornerstone was illegally discriminating and said that Ofsted’s judgement was “wrong as a matter of law”. He continued: “Cornerstone is permitted to exclusively recruit evangelical Christian carers because of the exemption in [the Equality Act 2010] for religious organisations.”
However, the Court also decided that this policy cannot extend to the sexual orientation of the carers. Cornerstone is consulting with the Christian Institute on whether to appeal this aspect of the ruling.
Cornerstone’s chairwoman, Rev Sheila Bamber, said: “Our right to support Christian families in providing the best possible outcomes for vulnerable children and young people has been upheld.
“But I am saddened that the fundamental place of biblically based Christian marriage in our beliefs has not been recognised.”
Cornerstone specialises in finding homes for “hard-to-place” children and has facilitated adoptions for nearly 80 per cent of their fostered children, even though this cuts off the funding it receives.
There have been no adoption breakdowns during the 20-year history of the organisation.