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.
Gay Parenting Special Report
Tory Shadow Cabinet Member Resigns