May a fostering agency recruit only heterosexual Evangelicals?: Cornerstone

Cornerstone is an independent fostering agency offering foster and permanent homes to children in the care of local authorities. It is founded on, and operates according to, Evangelical Christian principles and only recruits carers, staff and volunteers who will abide by its Statement of Beliefs and Code of Practice: Evangelical Christians who refrain from ‘homosexual behaviour’. In practice, it only accepts Evangelical married heterosexual couples and regards any other form of sexual activity as sinful [2].

Ofsted inspected Cornerstone in 2019 and concluded that Cornerstone’s recruitment policy violated various provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and the European Convention on Human Rights read with the Human Rights Act 1998. It required Cornerstone to change its policy and in R (Cornerstone (North East) Adoption And Fostering Service Ltd) v The Office for Standards In Education, Children’s Services And Skills [2020] EWHC 1679 (Admin), Cornerstone challenged Ofsted’s conclusions [4]. Continue reading