A Christian couple in Edmonton, Canada has claimed that their application to adopt a child was rejected because of their views on gay marriage and homosexuality.
The married couple has filed a court application alleging that the province of Alberta had discriminated against them based on their religious beliefs by rejecting their adoption application.
According to Edmonton Journal, the couple, who were only identified by initials in court documents, claimed that the Ministry of Children's Services revoked a previous recommendation that they be allowed to adopt and told them that their religious beliefs related to gender and sexuality were contrary to the "official position of the Alberta government."
"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," the woman stated in an affidavit filed Nov. 1 with Court of Queen's Bench in Edmonton.
The couple has reportedly stated that they accept that same-sex marriage is a legal reality, but they do not support it.
A Catholic Social Services worker had stated in an email that she was "pleased" to recommend them for adoption. However, a report prepared by the social services worker had recommended that a "homosexual child" not be placed with the couple because of an assessment that they would not support the child's "lifestyle," even though they said they would unconditionally love a child questioning or exploring their sexuality.
In mid-March, the worker contacted the couple again, saying Child and Family services had further questions about their views on sexuality.
The couple confirmed their views in subsequent meetings with Catholic Social Services and Child and Family Services, saying they would seek counseling and support if their child was questioning their sexuality, but they could not encourage a lifestyle that "we knew caused a higher proportion of anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts than other lifestyles."
Their adoption application was officially rejected on May 3, and they are now asking the court to rule that their rights were violated, and for an order that they be approved as adoptive parents.
The couple is being represented by John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).
In the court application filed on behalf of the couple, the legal group contended that the government is requiring prospective adoptive parents to discard their sincerely held religious beliefs without proving that their beliefs would have a negative impact on adopted children.
Carpay said his organization will argue that the decision violates the couple's rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"Making determinations about who is suitable to adopt on the basis of their sincere religious beliefs violates this couple's right to religious freedom and equality under the law," he stated.