I was frustrated to read this week about the Christian couple, Eunice and Owen Johns, who can no longer care for foster children due to their moral opposition to homosexuality. I was most struck by the bizarre standards the equality laws force on prospective foster and adoptive parents.
Let’s be clear here, the Johns are not zealously anti-gay or seeking to impose their views on sexuality on anyone. They simply refuse to compromise their religious values to fall in line with the 2007 Equalities and Sexual Orientation regulations. It’s not enough that the Johns said they would love any child irrespective of their sexual orientation. These regulations state that homosexuality must be endorsed and failure to do so is effectively harmful for foster children.
Given that there is a shortage of 10,000 foster families in the UK, it seems bizarre that the Court would rule to ban the Johns from fostering, especially when they have successfully done so in the past. Foster care provides children with respite from their abusive, unstable and damaging home environments. Turning down good foster carers like the Johns is essentially depriving such children the safe home, security and love they so desperately lack.
Having worked with children from vulnerable backgrounds and daily had to hand them back to their unpredictable, alcoholic and abusive parents, I can safely say that it is vastly more harmful for the State to make fostering more difficult than it is to allow people with unfashionable or outdated opinions to foster. Ultimately, children who are adopted and fostered into any sort of family do better than ones who are institutionalised or stuck in abusive environments.
It’s time the political-correctness zealots recognised that their equalities agenda must sometimes be overridden for the greater good. Certainly, we need to screen foster parents to ensure that children do not fall into dangerous hands, but at the same time it is ridiculous to try and shelter them from any carer who holds any sort of prejudice. It’s time we made it easier for British families to foster and adopt, and gave more children in the UK a better start in life.