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    First Published: October 2002
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
The House of Lords caused a setback in government plans, on 17th October 2002, which would have allowed gay and unmarried heterosexual couples to adopt children. Social Services Minister Jacqui Smith says "Given the strong views of the House of Commons on this issue the Government intends to allow another free vote once the bill returns to the House of Commons." At the moment only single people, including gays and lesbians, and married couples, are allowed to adopt.
Lord Alli was one of the Labour peers who's campaigning for the law to be changed. He said the current debate had "set married couples against unmarried couples and married couples against gay couples" when what was needed was to find homes for children in institutional care. He also has vowed to adopt a child with his long-term partner once the law is changed.
Tory Baroness O'Cathain has taken over from Baroness Young in leading the fight against allowing gay couples to adopt children. She claimed a change in the law would undermine marriage and put children at risk by placing them in unstable relationships. Baroness O'Cathain said her fellow Tory peer asked her to take up the fight to discriminate against gays just 12 hours before she died last month.

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