Gay and unmarried adoption battle set for Supreme Court

13/09/2013
Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-24081255

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The health minister is set to take his fight against the extension of adoption rights to Northern Ireland's gay and unmarried couples to the UK's highest court.

Edwin Poots brought the legal challenge after an earlier decision ruled that the current ban on gay and lesbian couples adopting was unlawful.

The Attorney General had his request for clarification on the issue refused.

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

The department's legal team can now petition the higher court directly to hear its case.

In October last year, the ban based on relationship status was held to discriminate against those in civil partnerships and to breach their human rights.

At present, a single gay or lesbian person can adopt children in NI, but a couple in a civil partnership cannot.

The Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) said the ruling would bring NI into line with the rest of the UK.

Moves to allow gay couples to adopt had been on hold while the court heard an appeal from Stormont's health minister.

But anyone unmarried in Northern Ireland is currently only eligible for consideration as an individual.

Those in civil partnerships cannot apply either individually or as a couple.

Representatives of the Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organisation, expressed dismay that the department is now seeking to go to the Supreme Court over the issue.

Rainbow Project director, John O'Doherty said they were 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."


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