They are devoted foster parents with an unblemished record of caring for almost 30 vulnerable children.Who on Earth stands to benefit from this? Certainly not the child being raised by the Mathericks: he is being returned to the tender mercies of the local authority care home as a result of this. Neither will other children benefit: if there is, as there appears to be, a shortage of foster parents, then surely it is totally adverse to the interests of children in care for the number to be reduced still further. Does anyone think that the Mathericks are bad foster parents? Well, they seem to have fostered 28 children without any problems, not to mention having raised three children of their own. It seems that they have both experience and a devotion to the work of fostering. Is there even any suggestion that, were a child with homosexual tendencies to be placed with them, they would do him any harm? No - simply because a (foster) parent might disapprove strongly of some of their (foster) child's lifestyle choices does not mean that they cannot raise them in a loving and appropriate manner. I would add that I find it very unlikely that foster parents - or, indeed, legal parents, whether by birth or by adoption - commonly sit their eleven year-olds down and lecture them on the wonders of homosexual relationships, or that they take their teenagers to "gay association meetings" (whatever those are). Yet, somehow, children do not seem to be growing up permanently scarred by the absence of these formative experiences. I would therefore suggest that they are, at best, completely unnecessary.
But Vincent and Pauline Matherick will this week have their latest foster son taken away because they have refused to sign new sexual equality regulations.
To do so, they claim, would force them to promote homosexuality and go against their Christian faith.
The 11-year-old boy, who has been in their care for two years, will be placed in a council hostel this week and the Mathericks will no longer be given children to look after.
The devastated couple, who have three grown up children of their own, became foster parents in 2001 and have since cared for 28 children at their home in Chard, Somerset.
Earlier this year, Somerset County Council's social services department asked them to sign a contract to implement Labour's new Sexual Orientation Regulations, part of the Equality Act 2006, which make discrimination on the grounds of sexuality illegal.Officials told the couple that under the regulations they would be required to discuss same-sex relationships with children as young as 11 and tell them that gay partnerships were just as acceptable as heterosexual marriages.
They could also be required to take teenagers to gay association meetings.
When the Mathericks objected, they were told they would be taken off the register of foster parents.
The Mathericks have decided to resign rather than face the humiliation of being expelled.
Mr Matherick, a 65-year-old retired travel agent and a primary school governor, said: "I simply could not agree to do it because it is against my central beliefs.
"We have never discriminated against anybody but I cannot preach the benefits of homosexuality when I believe it is against the word of God."
Mrs Matherick, 61, said they had asked if they could continue looking after their foster son until he is found a permanent home, but officials refused and he will be placed in a council hostel on Friday.
She said: "He was very upset to begin with. We are all very close, but he's a mature young man and he's dealing with it."
No, this decision, and the Labour laws that lie behind it, have nothing to do with the welfare of children, or, indeed, of anyone else. Rather, they constitute yet another attempt to persecute thought criminals - particularly those of the Christian persuasion - and they represent the subordination of the interests of individuals and of the public at large to the dogma of the liberal-left.