Edmonton couple wins fight to adopt after province reverses decision based on religious beliefs

An Edmonton couple can now adopt a child after the province reversed its initial decision based on their traditional views of sexuality.

The couple, who are evangelical Christians, are not identified in court documents. They took legal action last November when their adoption application was rejected on the basis that their religious views did not support LGBT identities.

On Tuesday, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms released a letter from Alberta Children’s Services that informed the couple their case had been reviewed and the adoption rejection reversed.

“The initial decision is rescinded and your application is now approved,” states the letter from a senior manager.

The couple’s lawyer, John Carpay, said they are “thrilled.” And despite what they’ve been through, “that has not diminished their enthusiasm for adopting a child,” Carpay added.

“It’s positive that governments are reminded that they cannot discriminate against people on account of religion,” he said.

The news came after the couple filed an application seeking a judicial review of their rejected adoption application.

One of the prospective parents, who was adopted as a newborn, had long considered adopting a child but had “a compassionate interest in adopting older children,” according to judicial review application documents.

When asked by a caseworker how they would handle a child questioning his or her sexuality, the couple indicated that “in accordance with their sincere religious beliefs, they would provide such a child with loving guidance and the support such a child needed.”

Couple told rejection was final

The couple explained that “they understand children will decide for themselves what to think and how to behave,” the document states.

Initially, Catholic Social Services, which conducted the adoption application assessment, recommended the adoption be approved. But in March 2017 another letter informed the couple the recommendation had been reversed because they “would be unable to ‘help’ a child” with sexual identity issues.

In a meeting two months later, a caseworker told the couple that Child and Family Services considered their religious beliefs about sexuality “a ‘rejection’ of children with LGBT sexual identities,” and claimed that this view was the “official position of the Alberta government.”

The decision was final, they were told.

Carpay said that many Canadians, including Jews, Muslims and Christians, hold “traditional beliefs” that sexuality is only expressed in marriage between one man and one woman.

“I find it baffling that some people cannot grasp that you could love your child but disagree with their behaviour,” Carpay said.

CBC requested comment from Alberta Children’s Minister Danielle Larivee or her press secretary.  Instead a statement was issued by the department confirming the adoption rejection was rescinded.

The government “respects the rights and freedoms afforded to all Albertans under the Charter, including freedom of belief as well as equality rights,” the email said. “Families are not denied adoptions based on religious beliefs, and a diversity of belief systems can be found in the Alberta families and homes that have been approved to adopt a child.”



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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

Originally posted 2018-05-02 20:10:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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