A warning to a Catholic adoption agency to change its criteria and include same-sex couples or risk losing its charitable status has been upheld by a watchdog.
St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow was told earlier this year that prioritising those who have been married for at least two years discriminates against same-sex couples.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) reviewed the practices of the charity in January after a complaint from the National Secular Society and in a report found it was breaking the Equality Act 2010.
St Margaret's gives greater priority to prospective adoptive parents who are a couple, Catholic, married for at least two years and who wish to adopt within the framework of a Catholic faith, the report said.
Lower priority is given to those who have been married for less than two years, couples in civil partnerships, single people and married couples who do not wish to adopt within the Catholic faith.
The regulator said marriage is not available to same-sex couples and that the charity's policy constitutes direct discrimination. It ruled that St Margaret's failed the charity test and issued a direction for it to amend its procedures, or risk losing its charitable status.
St Margaret's challenged the watchdog's decision and requested a review. Having done so, the OSCR said it found that the charity discriminates unlawfully and confirmed its decision to issue the direction.
The Catholic charity has until April 22 to comply with the Equality Act or it could be removed from the register, the OSCR said. The charity now has the right to appeal to the Scottish Charities Appeal Panel.
Alistair McBay, spokesman for the National Secular Society, said: "We hope St Margaret's will now put the best interests of children first, as many other Catholic adoption agencies have done, and comply with the law by widening the pool of prospective parents to include same-sex couples."
St Margaret's is partly funded by the Catholic Church and the trustees of the charity include bishops from dioceses in the west of Scotland. A spokesman for the charity said: "We are disappointed at the decision. We will consult our lawyers before considering what course of action to pursue. In the meantime St Margaret's remains open for business."