A British couple who were told by Derby council that they could no longer be foster parents due to their anti-gay interpretation of their religious beliefs have said that, under advice from their lawyers, they will not launch a legal appeal against a High Court decision upholding Derby council’s actions, but will instead seek a “political intervention” from Prime Minister David Cameron to overturn what they see as anti-religious equality laws.
From Pink News:
Last month, High Court judges Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beeston upheld the council’s decision and ruled that that the Johns’ views could harm foster children.
[The couple's representation] Mr Diamond said in a Christian Legal Centre statement: “The courts are so set against religious freedom for Christians that an appeal is likely to only make matters worse.
“In recent years, there has been a combination of bad laws and a number of poor judicial appointments by the previous government.
“Where there are excellent judges they are restricted by bad laws. Unfortunately, there are also judges making law based on personal predilections. Parliament must remedy this situation as a matter of urgency.”
He added: “The British people have reversed silly laws in the past; the time is ripe for a review of the equality laws. It is time for the ‘Big Society’ to become a reality and to re-strengthen the communitarian institutions such as the church and other such bodies that can build this.
“Finally, the absurd ‘human rights’ agenda needs to be re-visited including the Human Rights Act.”
Mr Diamond and the Johns are to ask MPs to sign an ‘Equalities and Conscience Petition’ which calls on prime minister David Cameron to ensure that laws allow Christians to act on their consciences.
As reported last month, Eunice and Owen Johns of Derby, who in the past have fostered a total of fifteen children and received praise from social workers for their care, were told by Derby council in 2007 that their application to once again be foster parents could not be accepted because there were concerns that their views against homosexuality – which they are adamant are not homophobic but, rather, are in line with biblical teachings – could damage a gay or questioning child if put in their care.
They took their case to the High Court, but, as mentioned above, the court ruled in favor of the council, saying in essence that British equality laws recognize and protect gay people from prejudice in the public sphere.
As such, Eunice and Owen Johns had made a choice to interpret their belief in a way that, the court ruled, could have a negative impact on children in their care because, by their own admission, they would not withhold their views on homosexuality from those children, and as such the council was right to deny them the ability to foster, adding that while religious freedom of speech is to be protected, established laws do not give free speech an unlimited reign.
While PM David Cameron, a self-identifying practicing Christian, has not spoken directly about the Johns’ request for political intervention, he said earlier this week that he believed the High Court had settled the case, commenting: “This matter was decided by a court in the appropriate way and I think we should rest with the judgment that was made.”
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