Same-sex adoption in the United Kingdom

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Same-sex couples in the United Kingdom have had the right to adopt since 2002, following the Adoption and Children Act 2002.


In the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 Parliament provided that an application to adopt a child in England and Wales could be made by either a single person or a couple. The previous condition that the couple be married was dropped, thus allowing a same-sex couple to apply. The Lords rejected the proposal on one occasion before it was passed. Supporters of the move in Parliament stressed that adoption was not a "gay rights" issue but one of providing as many children as possible with a stable family environment rather than seeing them kept in care. Opponents raised doubts over the stability of relationships outside marriage, and how instability would impact on the welfare of adopted children. Similar legislation was adopted in Scotland which came into effect on 28 September 2009.[1][2]


The introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations on 30 April 2007 was controversial and a dispute arose between the Government and the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales over exemptions for Catholic adoption agencies.[3] Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham declared his opposition to the act, saying that the legislation contradicted the Catholic Church's "moral values". He supported efforts to have Catholic adoption agencies exempted from sexual orientation regulations, which were ultimately successful in a judgement given on 17 March 2010.[4]


  1. ^ "Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007, 2007 asp 4, s. 29". Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Thomas, Ellen (20 September 2009). "New legislation sees gay Scottish couples win right to adopt children". The Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 
  3. ^ Smith, Peter (5 February 2007). "Note from Archbishop Peter Smith regarding Catholic adoption agencies and the current controversy". Catholic Church of England and Wales. Archived from the original on 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  4. ^ Leeds-based Catholic charity wins gay adoption ruling, 17 March 2010