Half the population is opposed to placing children for adoption with same-sex couples, according to a new poll.
The Populus survey found that 47 per cent of the population are against gay adoption and 49 per cent are in favour. The poll was commissioned by The Times newspaper.
Despite the widespread public unease over gay adoption, recent laws have forced faith-based agencies to consider same-sex couples for adoption even if it compromises their religious ethos.
Several Roman Catholic agencies have since ended their adoption work or severed links with the Church.
In May 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”.
Earlier this year Edinburgh City Council turned down a couple’s bid to adopt their grandchildren because at 46 and 59 they were considered too old.
The children were instead placed with a male homosexual couple, and the grandparents were told that unless they dropped their opposition to the adoption they would never see the children again.
In a similar story, two boys from Somerset were placed with a same-sex couple in spite of the fact that it went against the “family’s Christian values”. Again, other members of the family had offered to give the children a home.
A Roman Catholic woman is currently seeking legal advice after her son was placed with two homosexual foster parents. He had been taken into care after an abusive marriage left his mother unable to look after him.
The Populus poll also showed that 44 per cent of the population are opposed to the idea of schools teaching that homosexual relationships are equal in status to marriage, while 51 per cent are in favour.
The figures show more liberal attitudes among younger respondents, although the youngest age group – 18 to 24-year-olds – was slightly more cautious than 25 to 34-year-olds about issues such as gay adoption and teaching about homosexuality in schools.