Northern Ireland Gov’t Legalizes Same-Sex Adoption
A ban prohibiting same-sex and unmarried couples from adopting children in Northern Ireland has been lifted, the BBC reports.
The country's Health Minister Edwin Poots tried to challenge an appeal court decision to grant adoption rights to same-sex couples, but the Supreme Court said the Department of Health's argument for an appeal did not meet the criteria.
"Following the Court of Appeal judgement [sic] in June 2013, unmarried couples, including same sex couples, and those in a civil partnership may apply to adopt," a spokesperson for the Department of Health said, according to the BBC. "The final decision regarding the granting of an adoption order will lie with the court."
Before the ban was lifted, it was illegal for a same-sex couple in a civil union to adopt, but a single gay or lesbian person could. In June, the Court of Appeal ruled the ban was discriminating against couples in civil partnerships and was a violation of human rights.
The BBC reports that Northern Ireland was the only part of the United Kingdom to have a law that prohibited same-sex couples from adopting.
The Department of Health spokesperson said officials from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission had been working to eliminate the ban since early 2011.
"The Department of Health appealed against the judicial review judgment handed down in October 2012," the BBC writes. "The Court of Appeal judgment was handed down in June 2013 and an application to the United Kingdom Supreme Court seeking leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal judgment was made by the Department of Health in September 2013."