Scotland's Charity Appeal Panel (SCAP) was wrong to overturn the decision to remove a Catholic adoption agency from the charity register, says equality body.
Scotland's Charity Appeal Panel (SCAP) should not have overtuned the Scottish charity regulator's decision to remove a Catholic adoption agency from the charity register.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Scotland has spoken out after SCAP overturned the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator’s (OSCR) decision to remove St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society from the charity register for refusing to work with unmarried or same-sex couples.
EHRC provided evidence to the appeal panel during its nine-month investigation into the decision, which was made on the grounds that St Margaret’s discriminated against same-sex couples wishing to become parents.
It is the EHRC’s view that SCAP is mistaken in its understanding of the meaning of direct and indirect discrimination
Last month, OSCR announced that it will not challenge the decision of the panel, which was announced in January.
However, in a statement on its website, the EHRC has now said it believes that SCAP was wrong to insist OSCR reinstate St Margaret’s.
“The EHRC has no locus to appeal the decision itself, as only OSCR and the relevant charity have a right of appeal,” it stated.
“The EHRC has however carefully considered the SCAP decision as it relates to discrimination law. The decision is not easy to follow, but it is the EHRC’s view that SCAP is mistaken in its understanding of the meaning of direct and indirect discrimination.”
In its evidence to the appeal panel St Margaret’s said that in principle it would consider an application to be an adoptive parent from a couple in a civil partnership.
The commission has therefore written to the charity to ask it to publicly publish this fact.