Javier Garcia Oliva: Why the Constitutional Treatment of Religion in Great Britain Matters in Religious Disputes

UK Constitutional Law Association

Two high profile cases concerning the approach of public authorities towards religion and identity, where the care and future of looked after children were concerned, have featured this summer.

Firstly, a Sikh couple were denied the opportunity to adopt a white baby by Adopt Berkshire, the Windsor and Maidenhead council-run adoption agency, and despite considerable political pressure and the intervention of the EHRC, the local authority refused to alter its position, stating only that it could not discuss individual cases. Some weeks later, the Times broke a story concerning a five year old girl of Christian heritage, fostered by a conservative Muslim family.  The newspaper reports claimed that the child was denied her favourite meal as it contained bacon, had her cross taken from her and was subjected to comments denigrating non-Muslim women and culture.  On this occasion, the council robustly hit back, asserting that the…

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