Lesbian couple gain right to foster at second appeal: Women accepted as carers after council meeting minutes leaked

A LESBIAN couple who were turned down as foster parents because of their sexuality have been given the right to care for children after their rejection was overturned at a second appeal.

The women, who have not been identified, were accepted as foster carers by Hampshire County Council's social services committee late on Monday, at the end of a year of argument between social workers and councillors. It is thought they are the first lesbians to have been accepted as a couple, although others who live with a homosexual partner have been appointed as 'single' foster carers.

After being turned down as foster parents last May, the women were assured that their homosexuality played no part in the decision. One is a 36-year- old former nurse with two children from a previous marriage, the other is a 35-year-old businesswoman. They have been in a stable relationship for more than 10 years, bringing up the children as part of a family unit, and have been supported in their applications by the council's social work team.

The women appealed against the decision to reject them and an independent child care investigator, appointed by the council, backed their application. But they were rejected again in December.

In January, however, Peter Brunnen a local councillor and gay rights activist, acquired minutes of the May meeting, which he released to the Independent. They showed that councillors ' . . . decided not to approve the application on the grounds that it was not in the interest of children being looked after by the county council to be placed in the care of a lesbian couple'.

Department of Health guidelines on fostering say: 'It would be wrong arbitrarily to exclude any particular groups of people from consideration. But the chosen way of life of some adults may mean that they would not be able to provide a suitable environment for the care and nurture of a child.'

This has been interpreted by fostering agencies as meaning that a person otherwise deemed to be a suitable applicant should not be rejected simply because he or she is homosexual.

The couple's second appeal was backed by a panel of independent child care experts appointed by the council. Finally, on Monday, their recommendations were accepted and the women were approved as short- term emergency and respite carers for children aged up to five.

One of the women said: 'It has been very important to us to demonstrate that simply being lesbian does not mean we cannot be good foster parents.'

The Conservative-controlled council said that the deliberations leading to its change of heart were confidential.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Trainer / IT Trainer

£30 to £32k : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Trainer / IT Trainer to join an a...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Developer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a world leader ...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Technical Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an int...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'