A married Canadian couple is suing the Alberta government after being rejected for adoption because of their Christian beliefs. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, alleges the province denied their application for adoption because of their religious beliefs on sexuality and gender.
In October 2016, the couple—known only by their initials in court documents—applied to adopt with Alberta’s Child and Family Services. They had struggled with infertility and were interested in adopting a hard-to-place older child or sibling group. Their case was assigned to Catholic Social Services in Edmonton, Alberta, which completed psychological and financial evaluations and prepared a home study report.
During the home study, the social worker who managed their case asked them about their beliefs regarding homosexuality. The couple said they held Biblical views on marriage and sexuality but would unconditionally love and respect a child questioning his or her sexuality or gender. The social worker noted their answers in her report and otherwise enthusiastically recommended to Child and Family Services the applicants be approved for adoption.
But in March, Catholic Social Services told the couple that Child and Family Services had additional questions for them about homosexuality based on their answers during the home study.
“Biblical principles are the foundation of our home,” wrote the couple in reply to the social worker, according to an affidavit submitted to the court. “As such we believe that homosexuality is wrong. … Gender and sexuality are determined at birth, and God has given parameters for people to enjoy the gift of sex—within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman.”
But the couple noted that they would love and accept a child placed in their home, regardless of his or her sexuality, and, “Ultimately, a parent’s love is not, and should not be, given based on the decisions or actions of a child. It’s unconditional and filled with grace and mercy.”
A few days later, Catholic Social Services reversed its recommendation for approval, stating that the couple wouldn’t be able to help a child with “sexual identity issues.” When they met with the staff to understand the decision further, the issue became clear: “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,” said the woman in the affidavit.
The couple attempted to appeal to no avail. In May, Child and Family Services officially denied their application, saying their beliefs about gender and sexuality were a rejection of LGBT children and differed from the “official position of the Alberta government.”
The couple, represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, filed suit Nov. 1.
“If left to stand, this decision would have grave consequences for the freedoms of all Canadians, not to mention adverse consequences for the many children who will never be adopted if the government continues with this discrimination,” Justice Centre president John Carpay said in a statement.
Catholic organizations have raised concerns about Catholic Social Services and its handling of the case considering the church’s teaching on homosexuality. Homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” and “under no circumstances can they be approved,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Catholic Social Services told LifeSite News: “We are currently working with Child and Family Services to address the concerns that have been raised.”
But the larger issue in this case is the acknowledgement of a state-sanctioned dogma of sexuality and gender, said Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a WORLD board member.
The case shows that Alberta “now has what amounts to an official doctrine when it comes to sexuality issues, especially homosexuality and same-sex marriage,” said Mohler in his podcast The Briefing on Wednesday. Despite the fact that this couple’s beliefs mirror what Biblical Christianity has taught for over two millennia and what the country of Canada held to be morally mandated until very recently, convictional Christians are now being identified as “heretics of the new official state religion,” Mohler said, adding, “This is a church that is ardently hunting down heretics.”
A hearing date for the case will likely be set in 2018.