U.K. adoption charity can’t ban gay couples
LONDON — A Catholic adoption advisory service that refuses to help gay couples cannot win an exemption from anti-discrimination laws, Britain’s charity regulator said Aug. 19.
The Associated Press reported that Catholic Care, a charity in Leeds, northern England, had argued that as a religious group it should be allowed to offer adoption-support services only to heterosexuals. It said its funding from the Roman Catholic church was dependent on its policy of helping only married heterosexual couples to adopt.
In March, it won a High Court appeal of the original decision in the case, but in a final ruling Britain’s Charity Commission said the group’s policy was discriminatory and breached European human rights laws.
The commission ordered the group to either cease its work to place children with adoptive parents or to abide by equality laws — meaning it would need to consider gay couples as prospective parents.
“The charity is very disappointed with the outcome, Catholic Care will now consider whether there is any other way in which the charity can continue to support families seeking to adopt children in need,” the group said in a statement.
Andrew Hind, Charity Commission chief executive, said that under British equality laws there almost no circumstances in which organizations are allowed to discriminate on the basis of a person’s sexuality.
“We have concluded that in this case the reasons Catholic Care have set out do not justify their wish to discriminate,” the Associated Press reported Hind as saying.
Other Catholic agencies have either withdrawn from placing children or have cut their ties with the church since the British government imposed anti-discrimination rules in 2007.
“The law is carefully weighted to balance the rights of organizations such as religious charities and the rights of minority groups such as those with a particular sexual orientation,” Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission said in a statement. “We believe the outcome in this case helps reinforce that balance.”
Germany considering income tax equality for gays
BERLIN — Germany’s justice minister says she is considering changes to income tax laws to iron out disadvantages for same-sex couples.
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told the Muenchner Merkur newspaper she thinks same-sex legal partners should be granted income tax breaks similar to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples, the Associated Press reported Aug. 19.
Germany’s highest court last week ruled that gay partners are entitled to the same inheritance tax privilege as heterosexual spouses. A decision on income tax rules is pending — a touchy issue as the constitution privileges marriage.
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger says the government shouldn’t wait for the court’s decision as the direction of its rulings is clear.
Mexican Catholics, gay rights protesters face off
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Gay rights activists and a group of Roman Catholics in Mexico yelled insults at each other Sunday during dueling demonstrations over same-sex marriage.
Some 200 gay rights activists waved rainbow flags and held signs reading, “Thank God I’m gay” at a plaza next to the cathedral in Guadalajara, the Associated Press reported.
A similar number of protesters opposed to marriage equality prayed at the cathedral’s doors. One of them ripped up a sign held by a gay rights activist, prompting screaming by both sides.
It was the second confrontation in two days in Guadalajara, according to the Associated Press. Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez stirred controversy by suggesting Mexico’s Supreme Court was bribed to uphold a Mexico City law allowing adoptions by homosexual couples.