NI homosexual adoption case put on hold until New Year

A controversial attempt to allow homosexual couples in Northern Ireland to adopt children has been adjourned by the High Court until March.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission argues the current law, which only permits married couples to jointly adopt children, is discriminatory and contrary to human rights.

But when legalising homosexual adoption in the Province was consulted on in 2006, over 90 per cent of people opposed the idea.


Mr Justice Treacy granted an adjournment after it emerged that key information supplied to Law Lords in a 2008 landmark adoption case was incorrect.

Lawyers from the Commission will now have time to reconsider Northern Ireland legislation on the issue.

Attorney General John Larkin QC, who is representing the Government in court, opposed the adjournment, arguing the legal challenge is “outrageous”.


Joint adoption by homosexual couples was legalised in England and Wales in 2002 and came into force in 2005. The Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 legalised joint adoption by cohabiting heterosexual and homosexual couples in Scotland.

In May 2009 the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) was widely criticised for printing a guide to same-sex adoption in which people who opposed the practice were referred to as “retarded homophobes”.

BAAF subsequently apologised for the use of the word “retarded” but said “we do still stand by the sentiments behind it”.