An evangelical Christian couple in Canada is taking legal action after their adoption application was reportedly denied because of their religious-based views on sexuality.
The couple, who are not named in court papers, allege "initial recommendation they be allowed to adopt was revoked after 'interference' by the Ministry of Children’s Services, and that they were told their religious beliefs related to gender and sexuality were contrary to the 'official position of the Alberta government,'" reports National Post.
“If we did not change our religious beliefs regarding sexuality, to conform to the beliefs of Child and Family Services, we would not be approved for adoption,” claimed the unnamed woman in an affidavit filed in Edmonton's Court of Queen’s Bench on November 1.
According to a copy of the Safe Home Study Report, the couple had no other issues which would have promoted an application rejection; the couple owns their own home, are actively involved in their community, and are both employed. In fact, the social worker who recommended the couple for adoption said she was "pleased" to do so.
Disturbingly, it appears their beliefs regarding homosexuality and their admission that they would guide a child to seek counseling if they were confused sexually, earned the couple a rejection. National Post reports:
However, the report recommended a "homosexual child” not be placed with the couple because of an assessment that though they said would unconditionally love a child questioning or exploring their sexuality, they would not support the “lifestyle,” which could mean a child may not feel accepted.
Then, in mid-March, the worker contacted the couple again and said Child and Family services had received the report and had additional questions about their views on sexuality.
The worker and the couple sent emails back and forth. In one, the woman wrote she believes homosexuality is a choice.
During subsequent meetings with Catholic Social Services and Child and Family Services, the couple said they made it clear they would seek counselling and support if their child was questioning their sexuality, but they could not encourage a lifestyle that “we knew caused a higher proportion of anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts than other lifestyles,” according to the affidavit.
On May 3, the couple’s adoption application was officially rejected, according to court documents.
The couple has claimed that they were discriminated against based on their religious beliefs and are asking for their application to adopt be approved.
In an statement, Minister of Children’s Services spokesman Aaron Manton suggested the couple did not have an "inclusive" enough home.
“Our government believes that every adoptive child deserves a safe, healthy, loving and inclusive home. We want to ensure that, in all cases, the adoption process gives both children and parents the best possible outcomes, which is why the application process is thorough and rigorous,” said Manton.
The couple's lawyer, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms President John Carpay, says a hearing will likely be held in 2018.