A Christian couple from Perth want their five-year long religious discrimination battle with a foster care agency to offer hope to other believers seeking to be foster carers.
Byron and Keira Hordyk won their case against Wanslea Family Services which rejected their application after deciding they were unsuitable to be short-term or emergency carers of pre-schoolers because they could not affirm LGBT values.
The agency ruled that their religious beliefs would mean that they could not maintain a physically and emotionally safe environment for a foster child who identified as LGBT.
They would have only cared for a child aged five or under.
Mrs Hordyk explained to The Catholic Weekly that they just wanted to help little children living in sad situations.
The couple who attended a Free Reformed Church were in a stable relationship with two children of their own and said they had a bit of free time to care for a foster child.
The WA State Administrative Tribunal ruled that Wanslea discriminated against the Hordyks on the grounds of their religious conviction.
It awarded the couple A$3,000 each in damages.
John Steenhof, head of the Hordyk’s legal team at the Human Rights Law Alliance told The Catholic Weekly that: “To exclude the Hordyks is to deprive needy children of a safe home and a loving, caring and stable environment.”
He added that: “This case has implications for all orthodox Christians who feel called to help relieve some of the overwhelming problems with an overburdened child protection system.”
Mr. Steenhoff explained that the decision “reinforces the fact that Christian beliefs don’t make Christians unsafe to foster kids.”
“This is a great result for all Christians who hold traditional views on marriage and sexuality and might feel called to adopt or foster a child. It is a push back against an increasingly hostile society that seeks to marginalise traditional Christians,” he added.