UK
08/10/2013 11:57 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Gay Couple From Northern Ireland Forced To Use English Adoption Route To Bypass Anti-Gay Ban

A gay couple have said they were forced to travel to England to adopt following confusion over the law in Northern Ireland.

John Davis and Jason Scorer, who live in County Antrim, had hoped to adopt children from NI, but were advised to consider other options following a lack of clarity over the law.

gay children

The Court of Appeal ruled that legislation which prevented gay, lesbian and unmarried couples from adopting children in NI was unlawful (File image)

Having waited nearly five months just to get an initial kick-off meeting in June 2012 and although they had already applied and already had the first part of their assessment, the couple were blocked.

They were told the law had changed and that they were no longer eligible to adopt in Northern Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Davis said the couple were lucky their social worker in Northern Ireland "had done a lot of homework," letting them know they could not push further with their plans.

He added: "The problem is a lot of people may not be aware there is another option."

"There are children waiting in the system (in Northern Ireland) to find families but, unfortunately, we were not allowed to go down that route," said Mr Scorer.

"And that is to the hardship of the children who are here."

The Court of Appeal ruled that legislation which prevented gay, lesbian and unmarried couples from adopting children in NI was unlawful.

Belfast High Court Justice Seamus Treacy ruled the law clearly violated European human rights laws on privacy and discrimination.

But Northern Ireland's Health Minister, Edwin Poots - an evangelical Protestant opposed to gay partnerships - is trying to maintain a ban on same-sex couple adopting.

Despite the policy being declared unlawful in October 2012, the health minister plans to go to the Supreme Court to try to overturn the decision and get the ban reinstated.

"It is my intention to urgently appeal this judgment and I am taking this action with a heavy heart," said Poots, who called the ruling against the best interests of children at the time of the ruling.

He has insisted the problem surrounding the issue is to do with stability not sexuality.