Alberta Family Services Reverses Rejection of Adoption Application Over Couple’s Beliefs About Sexuality

ALBERTA, Canada — Alberta Child and Family Services has reversed its original rejection of a couple’s adoption application due to their biblical beliefs about sexuality.

According to reports, the couple, which has only been identified as C.D. and N.D., filed the application in October 2016. The case was assigned to Catholic Social Services, which conducted interviews and compiled a home study. The couple had desired to adopt an older child that needed a forever family.

During the interviews, the couple was asked how they would handle a situation in which a child questioned their sexuality or engaged in “sexual exploration.” They responded that they would provide loving guidance to the young person in the midst of their struggles.

In March 2017, Catholic Social Services contacted the couple to advise that Alberta Child and Family Services had follow-up questions regarding their views on sexuality. The couple then responded to those questions via email, reiterating that they would teach the child in accordance with their biblical views, but ultimately, the child’s decision on how to comport their conduct is up to themselves.

“The applicants reiterated their commitment to treating any child in their care with unconditional love, respect and compassion regardless of what the child chose to do, and regardless of the child’s sexual behavior,” a complaint filed on behalf of the couple by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms reads.

“The applicants further explained that they would teach any children in their care what they believe about all aspects of human existence, including sexuality, but they understand children will decide for themselves what to think and how to behave.”

Catholic Social Services again emailed to advise that Alberta Child and Family Services had yet more questions about the subject matter, which the couple answered.

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Days later, the couple received a rejection letter from Catholic Social Services with a revised home study, which asserted that the couple would not be approved because they couldn’t “help” a child with “sexual identity issues.” The documents did not elaborate on why it was believed that the couple couldn’t help the child.

The couple appealed, but their efforts were unsuccessful. In meeting with two representatives of Alberta Child and Family Services, a caseworker and a supervisor, they were informed that their views on sexuality were a problem.

“The casework supervisor explained that Child and Family Services considered the applicants’ religious beliefs regarding sexuality a ‘rejection’ of children with LGBT sexual identities, and that this stance was the ‘official position of the Alberta government,'” the complaint outlines.

The couple then asked if there was a way that they could live in accordance with their biblical beliefs and still adopt, and were informed that Alberta Child and Family Services does not make decisions based on a family’s religious beliefs—a statement that they found to conflict with what had just occurred.

The couple filed a complaint with the Court of Queen’s Bench in November, and recently, Alberta Child and Family Services submitted a letter to the couple to advise that it had rescinded its denial and instead approved the adoption application.

“[T]he initial decision is rescinded and your application is now approved,” the letter read.

Read the letter in full here. 

“This decision to deny adoption access on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs violates all Canadians’ right to religious freedom and equality under the law as guaranteed in the Charter and in Alberta’s own Bill of Rights and Human Rights Act,” Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms President John Carpay said in a statement.

“We are pleased that Alberta Child and Family Services has recognized it was wrong to deny this couple’s adoption application,” he said.

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