Gay men and women should not be able to adopt children in
Northern Ireland, according to a representative for the country's
Department of Health.
The comments come as part of a legal battle launched by the
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, who claim current
legislation discriminates and should be brought in line with UK
Currently, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 prohibits gays and
lesbians - like single heterosexuals - from becoming adoptive
Yesterday, John Larkin, QC, said adoption laws were to ensure
child welfare rather than satisfy the wishes of would-be
"Adopted children, in the clear submission of the department,
are not services and the department will always refuse to consider
children as services," the BBC report him as saying.
He also added that UK law should not influence legislation in
"What happens in Scotland, England and Wales does not constitute
a line into which Northern Ireland must be brought," he added.
The laegal challenge - which was deferred from last year - comes
after confusion arose over a prohibition on adoption for civil
partnership within Stormont legislation - the
legislative power over almost all aspects of Northern Ireland
At first, this was described as an error, but the court later
heard from representatives of the Department of Public Health that
it was intentional.
Mr Justice Treacy granted the adjournment to allow the
commission's lawyers time to study the legislation.
"How on earth a massive mistake like that could have been
communicated to the House of Lords and nobody saw fit to (correct
it), I have great difficulty in understanding," he said.
The challenge has been backed by a lesbian woman and her partner
who want to adopt a child together.
The hearing continues.