Christian Foster Parents Forced to Retire From Fostering Children

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: October 10, 2007

A Christian couple was being forced to retire from fostering needy children on conscientious grounds after the local council imposed rules requiring them to discuss homosexuality with the children.

A Christian couple in Chard, Somerset in UK, Vincent and Pauline Matherick, who have fostered 28 children have been forced to give up being foster parents after they refused to promote homosexuality, reported the Telegraph. 

The couple said that while they would neither condemn nor condone homosexuality, they could not actively promote it because of their religious beliefs. The Mathericks, who have three children of their own, are ministers at the non-conformist South Chard Christian Church, near their home in Chard. 

In February 2007 a social worker told the couple that the council was obliged to implement the Government's Sexual Orientation Regulations. The rules make it illegal for the suppliers of goods or services to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality, reported the Telegraph. 

"They were saying that we had to be prepared to talk about sexuality with 11-year-olds, which I don't think is appropriate anyway, but not only that, to be prepared to explain how gay people date," said Mr Matherick. 

In October 2007, after their case caught national media attention, Vincent and Pauline Matherick were able to reach an agreement with their local council authorities and keep their current child, a ten year-old boy, in their home. 

Somerset County Council said it was committed to the interests of children and young people and that it welcomed foster carers from all backgrounds and faiths, reported the Times. 

Since late May 2008 the Mathericks have been fully reinstated as foster parents by Somerset County Council, reported Christian Legal Centre.

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