Christian couple sue foster care agency that ‘rejected them over anti-LGBTIQ views’

perth christian couple byron keira hordyk foster care religious discrimination lgbtiq
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A Christian couple from Perth who believe homosexuality is a sin that people can “overcome” have sued a foster care agency for religious discrimination after they allegedly rejected the couple’s application over their religious views.

Byron and Keira Hordyk have accused WA organisation Wanslea Family Services of religious discrimination after the devout Christian couple applied to become foster parents in 2017.

During the agency’s formal assessment, staff asked the couple how they’d respond to a foster child who identified as LGBTIQ.

The couple said they could love a foster child in the same manner they care for their own children.

However they said identifying as LGBTIQ was a sin they would help any child “overcome”.

In September 2019, Wanslea sent the couple a letter explaining their application wouldn’t go further.

The agency told the Hordyks’ their beliefs meant they failed to “provide a safe living environment”, one of the five official competencies for foster carers in WA.

The couple, who have their own children, complained to the state’s Equal Opportunity Commission. However the commissioner dismissed it on the basis the complaint “lacked substance”.

The Hordyks then requested the complaint go to the State Administrative Tribunal. The tribunal will hold a hearing on the case next month, The West Australian reported.

The couple will use the Equal Opportunity Act to argue the agency discriminated against them on the basis of religious convictions.

They argue the requirements imposed by Wanslea was unreasonable and no reasonable attempt was made to accommodate them.

Byron and Keira Hordyk claim religious discrimination by foster care agency

Byron and Keira Hordyk told the West Australian they believe identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual is a sin.

They also believe people can resist such a sin and they would try to help any child “overcome” that sin.

“We do feel we have been discriminated against. [We] also we felt that if we were quiet about this and didn’t say anything about it, it could potentially harm or limit any people with the same Christian values as ours from fostering,” Mr Hordyk said.

He said they both “hold traditional Christian views on how the Bible teaches us on sexuality and marriage.”

“We stated it from the beginning. We’re not here to hide behind it. Everyone — particularly with a divisive issue — is afraid of being put into the realm of public opinion in a negative light.

“And my beliefs are strong enough that this might be my cross to bear.”

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