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Christian couple awarded $6K after foster agency rejected their beliefs on sexuality

Byron and Keira Hordyk
Byron and Keira Hordyk |

An Australian Christian couple has been awarded $6,000 after a tribunal agreed that they were wrongfully denied the opportunity to foster children because of their belief that homosexuality is a sin.

The State Administrative Tribunal has ordered Wanslea Family Services to pay Perth residents Byron and Keira Hordyk $3,000 each following a four-year legal battle, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The married couple, who have three children of their own and are members of the theologically conservative Free Reformed Churches of Australia, became interested in raising more children as short-term foster caregivers to children as old as 5 in 2017.

That same year, the Hordyks sent out applications to become foster caregivers to Wanslea Family Services — a nonprofit, state-contracted foster agency. 

According to Human Rights Law Alliance, which provided legal representation for the couple in the legal case, Wanslea rejected the application on the basis that the Hordyks’ “religious beliefs about sexuality made them ‘unsafe’ to care for children.”

The law group reports that during the formal assessment process, the Hordyks met with two social workers who examined competencies for fostering. The parents were asked various hypothetical parenting questions, including inquiries on how they would respond to an LGBT foster child.

“We certainly would not drop them off that day to another home,” the Hordyks stated during the initial assessment, as reported by The West Australian. “However, we are taught and do believe that all LGBTQ identities are wrong and sinful; but there will be people who have to fight against this sin.”  

“We will therefore offer our help and try and do what we can to help this child, but if the child continues to be gay and goes on to date etc. the placement will not work as this goes against our beliefs.” 

The Human Rights Law Alliance reports that the couple also conceded that placing LGBT children in their homes wouldn’t be the best fit, but the Hordyks were told that they failed to provide a “safe” environment for a child. 

The legal group representing the couple contends that foster agencies “routinely consider the culture and religion of the host family when determining whether a particular foster child is a good match or not.”

“We do feel we have been discriminated against and also we felt that if we were quiet about this and didn't say anything about it, it could potentially harm or limit any people with the same Christian values as ours from fostering,” Byron Hordyk told The West Australian.

The Free Reformed Church of Australia is a federation of more than a dozen congregations located mainly in Western Australia. 

An Anglican pastor who testified in writing as an expert during the tribunal, Mark Durie, stated that the FRCA is on the “conservative end.”

“In my opinion, the FRCA upholds a conservative position on human sexuality, and a conservative biblical hermeneutic, which regards homosexual sexual relations as sinful,” the pastor wrote, according to ABC News. 

FRCA Pastor Wesley Bredenhof testified that the denomination views marriage as a “life-long relationship between one man and one woman” and that “all extra-marital sexuality is contrary to the Bible.”

“Homosexual lusts and behaviours are contrary to the Bible and that there are two fixed genders or sexes, namely male and female,” Bredenhof stated. 

The FRCA’s public church order document lists policies churches are expected to follow. Article 67 says that church leaders should instruct congregation members to “marry only in the Lord.” 

“Ministers, as authorized by the consistory, solemnize only such marriages as are in accordance with the Word of God,” the document reads. 

Wanslea Family Services argued that the Hordyks were denied based on their own personal “rigidity” on the issue, not based on the religious convictions of their church.

Byron Hordyk testified in court that having “the core principles of his life” rejected made him feel “deflated.” 

”It feels unfair for me to have to throw away my beliefs on these issues just so I can be acceptable to Wanslea. My religious convictions take center stage in all aspects of my life,” the husband said during one of the hearings, according to The Daily Mail.

Keira Hordyk said she felt “gutted” and “devastated” because her “beliefs were labeled “‘dangerous.’” 

“We hold traditional Christian views on how the Bible teaches us on sexuality and marriage. We stated it from the beginning,” Byron Hordyk said, according to The West Australian. 

“Everyone — particularly with a divisive issue — is afraid of being put into the realm of public opinion in a negative light. And my beliefs are strong enough that this might be my cross to bear.”

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: nicole.alcindor@christianpost.com.

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