United Kingdom

Northern Ireland’s health minister fights against gay couple adoption


DAN LITTAUER [e]Special to LGBTQ Nation[m]

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Northern Ireland’s health minister is planning to take his fight against the extension of adoption rights to same-sex couples to the United Kingdom‘s highest court.

Belfast’s Court of Appeal has given Edwin Poots the opportunity to appeal its ruling that bans on gay and lesbian couples adopting is unlawful, reported the BBC.

Edwin Poots

Edwin Poots

The case is now expected to go before the UK Supreme Court in London.

Poots and his legal team will petition the UK Supreme Court directly to hear its case.

In October 2012, a ban against adoption by same-sex couples was held to discriminate against those in civil partnerships and to breach their human rights.

Previously, a single gay or lesbian person could adopt children in Northern Ireland, but a couple in a civil partnership could not.

Following the Court of Appeal ruling, adoption agencies were instructed to accept applications from same-sex and unmarried couples and those in civil partnerships.

At the time, the Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) said the ruling would bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK.

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Representatives of the Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, said they were disappointment that Poots is now seeking to overturn the ruling by appealing to the UK Supreme Court.

Rainbow Project director, John O’Doherty said he was disappointed with the minister’s decision.

“Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have noted the practice of banning same-sex and unmarried couples from adopting is discriminatory,” he said.

“Enough public money has been spent on this fool’s errand. The minister should focus his time on ensuring the best available homes for children in care in Northern Ireland,” O’Doherty told the BBC.

Earlier this year, a bid to legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was defeated in the Stormont Assembly, while England and Wales passed a marriage equality bill.

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