LONDON (RNS) A Roman Catholic adoption agency has lost its fight for the right to continue its policy of refusing to place children with same-sex couples based on religious principles.

The agency, Catholic Care, saw its battle to limit its adoption services to heterosexual-only parents collapse in a ruling Thursday (August 19) by the powerful Charity Commission, an independent watchdog in England, although funded by the British government.

After a lengthy legal wrangle, the Charity Commission decreed that Charity Care’s stance amounted to discrimination based on sexual orientation because it departs from the principle of treating people equally.

Charity Care had been targeted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which insisted such discrimination, was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Britain is a signatory.

Charity Care officials had said earlier that if it lost the case, it would shut down its adoption service rather than risk weakening or even losing its Catholic affiliation, but has yet to make a final decision.

Britain passed gay rights legislation in January 2009 that ordered 12 Catholic adoption services to either close down or cut their ties with the church.

Eleven have chosen one option or the other, leaving Charity Care the last to continue the fight.

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