August 19, 2010; Source: | A Catholic agency was told this week it must abide by British law, which prevents discrimination against homosexuals who want to adopt children. Catholic Care, which had asked for exemption from the United Kingdom’s equality laws, now says it may be forced to close its adoption services rather than change its policies.

Catholic Care had argued that compliance with the country’s Equality Act would put the agency in conflict with and cost it funding from the Roman Catholic Church. In rejecting the agency’s request for exemption from the law, the Charity Commission, the country’s independent regulator of charities, said Catholic Care failed to offer “sufficiently convincing and weighty reasons” to restrict adoption services to homosexuals.

The UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission applauded the decision. A spokesman said the law that Catholic Care was contesting was designed to carefully “balance the rights of organisations such as religious charities and the rights of minority groups such as those with a particular sexual orientation.” The spokesman said, “We believe the outcome in this case helps reinforce that balance.” So far the group has not made public comments about the ruling or its plans.—Bruce Trachtenberg