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Anti-gay couple lose foster care case in U.K.

Judges from the Royal Courts of Justice move through the rain to Parliament Oct. 1, 2010, in London for the religious service and procession from Westminster Abbey marking the start of the legal year.
Getty Images
Judges from the Royal Courts of Justice move through the rain to Parliament Oct. 1, 2010, in London for the religious service and procession from Westminster Abbey marking the start of the legal year.
Getty Images

A ruling from Britain's high court found that a Pentecostal Christian couple's belief that homosexuality is morally wrong could be used as a factor in deciding whether they can care for foster children.

Eunice and Owen Johns, aged 62 and 65 respectively, couldn't convince judges at London's Royal Courts of Justice that a British city discriminated against them after they expressed their views on homosexuality, the Guardian newspaper of London reported Monday.

The case stems from the Johns telling a Derby city social worker in 2007 that they couldn't tell a child that a "homosexual lifestyle" was acceptable, the Guardian reported. The couple had cared for foster children in the past and wanted to take in children aged 5 to 10.

In their ruling, Lord Justice Munby and Justice Beatson noted they weren't striking down the Johns' beliefs but ruled instead on the discrimination stemming from those beliefs, the Guardian reported.

"No one is asserting that Christians (or, for that matter, Jews or Muslims) are not 'fit and proper' persons to foster or adopt," the judges wrote in their ruling, according to the Guardian. "No one is seeking to de-legitimise Christianity or any other faith or belief. On the contrary, it is fundamental to our law and our way of life that everyone is equal before the law and equal as a human being ... entitled to dignity and respect.

"We live in this country in a democratic and pluralistic society, in a secular state not a theocracy," the judges wrote.

After the ruling was handed down, Eunice Johns told reporters she was "extremely distressed" with the decision, which Christian groups also criticized.

"We are prepared to love and accept any child," Johns said, according to the Guardian. "All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing. We feel excluded and that there is no place for us in society."

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com