A prominent Roman Catholic adoption agency in the United Kingdom has been told to end their marriage requirement for adopting couples or risk deregulation. Marriage advocates have pointed it out as an issue of religious freedom and children finding stable homes.
St. Margaret's adoption agency has a policy requiring couples who are considering applying as adopting parents to be married for at least two years. Now that the policy and St. Margaret's are at risk, there are fears that the children will be the ones most harmed.
"We do not believe that this outcome is in the best interests of the children St Margaret's helps, who are in need of a safe and loving family home," Mike Russell, Education Minister for the Scottish Government, told the BBC.
Scotland's Office of Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) revealed that a complaint filed by the National Secular Society led to the request of removing the 2-year marriage requirement, even though the adoption agency has provided caring families with children of their own.
This attack on the adoption agency was orchestrated by National Secular Society, who claims that the policy of searching for stable homes for children is "discrimination" against the unmarried and homosexual partners looking to adopt.
"This kind of crude discrimination is no longer acceptable in our society – and that goes double where the discrimination is, in effect, being largely financed by the public purse," spokesman Alistair McBay said in a statement.
As part of the request for removal of the policy, the OSCR has given St. Margaret's until April 22 to comply with the new regulation or they will be removed from the official Scottish charity registrar. This would prevent them from fulfilling adoptions in the future.
There has been a large outcry over the attack on St. Margaret's adoption agency. Traditional marriage supporters have highlighted the incident as an example of how religious bodies will be harmed by the passing of gay marriage legislation and other anti-Christian policies in the U.K.
"This proves the concerns have been valid. The adoption society has done an outstanding job throughout the years," John Deighan, of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, told the Christian Institute.