LANCASHIRE, England - A former vicar and his wife have been denied the opportunity to foster children in the United Kingdom because of their stance on homosexuality.
John and Colette Yallop were well into the application process to become foster parents. But problems arose when the couple told the Lancashire County Council that if approved, they would not be willing to allow prospective same-sex adoptive parents into their home.
"We immediately knew this wasn't right for us as a family because of our young children who are bound to ask all sorts of questions about why has this child got two mommies or two daddies," John explained.
The couple said they'd be willing to let a homosexual seeking adoption to visit alone. However, if two same-sex partners wanted to meet with a foster child in their home, the Yallops requested that it be done at a children's center so not to confuse their five and 7-year-old.
Instead of cooperating with the family, the council recently terminated the Yallops' application.
"(This is) a classic case of discrimination where their freedom of conscience is not being respected by a council," said Will Stuart, communications director for London's Christian Legal Center. "And this seems to be happening more and more, whether it's Christians who want to be foster parents or whether it's Christian registrars who don't want to officiate at same-sex civil partnerships,"
The group will represent the couple as they attempt to appeal the council's decision.
The Yallops said they were deemed "ideal" candidates for foster children in an earlier assessment.
"We had interviews and completed a three-week course," Colette recalled. "It means a lot to us to give a child a start in life and seems unfair we are now being discriminated against because of our honesty."
"I don't think now there's a chance that we can enter into fostering because we are standing up now and we're saying, 'What you're doing to Christians across the nation is wrong,'" John said. "Because we've heard lots of other accounts of Christians being blocked before they got to panel.
Lancashire County Council cabinet member Susie Charles defended the decision.
"Yes, I'm standing by the decision we made because it's law that we have to be prepared for anybody to adopt, whether they're gay or single parents or your normal nuclear family," she said.
The outcome of the appeal could set precedent for future cases involving Christian couples wanting to become foster parents without compromising their beliefs.
*Originally aired August 20, 2010.