UK

Christian foster parents: Council 'stopping our free speech'

Child's hand holding an adult's hand Image copyright Thinkstock

A Christian couple blocked from adopting their two foster children because of their views on same-sex parenting have said their right to free speech has been infringed.

The couple, who cannot be named, had an adoption request refused after saying a child needed a "mummy and a daddy".

They have appealed against the decision, saying it was not in the "children's best interests".

The council is set to review the decision on Tuesday.

The couple have been fostering the two children since early 2016, and said they had been happy to work with the local authority while it sought an adoptive family.

But when informed that the children's potential adopters were a same-sex couple, they asked their social worker "if it was a joke" and applied to adopt the children themselves.

The foster mother told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme: "We can't imagine [the children] being under the care of two men."

She said: "As a girl or a boy, you're looking for a model. And, for us, the best parenting model is [a] mum and dad."

The foster mother said: "The [same-sex couple] are probably lovely and want to be parents and may have more money, but I feel that we've been discriminated against because of our religion.

"There is no free speech because if I'm [talking about something] that's better for my family, or my life, and it's not hurtful to anybody, why shouldn't I say that?"

She said the council was being "oversensitive" and aiming to "please" the same-sex couple without "bearing in mind the welfare of the children".

"Never did they mention how the children may feel," she said.

"We thought they would suffer more stress because of the trauma of leaving us to people they don't know."

The couple, who do not consider themselves to be homophobic, added that the council "knew from the beginning that we were religious".

In the year ending 31 March 2015, 450 children were adopted by same-sex couples in England, 30 in Wales and 22 in Scotland.

The council is set to review its decision on Tuesday, but declined to comment further due to reasons of confidentiality.

The Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

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