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Gay adoption: Supreme Court rules Northern Ireland cannot appeal

The UK Supreme Court has ruled against the Northern Ireland Health Minister, stating that he will not be allowed to appeal a High Court decision to allow gay adoption in Northern Ireland, reports the BBC.

Edwin Poots had attempted to challenge a High Court ruling in the province that effectively paved the way for gay and unmarried couples to adopt children.

Mr Poots appealed against the High Court ruling in June, but the UK Court of Appeal ruled that any law that prevented gay couples in a civil partnership from adopting was unlawful.

At present a single gay person can adopt, but a gay couple in a civil partnership or an unmarried straight couple are not allowed to adopt.

Mr Poots' law was challenged by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, in support of a lesbian woman who has been denied the right to adopt the biological child of her new partner.

The Commission challenged the law on the basis that it was disproportionately discriminatory against homosexuals in civil partnerships.

Mr Poots was left disappointed by the ruling, reports the BBC.

"It is with disappointment that I note that the request for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court has been refused," he said.

The decision was welcomed by the Commission, as well as by a variety of opposition parties in Northern Ireland.

"Edwin Poots' position as health minister has been seriously undermined by successive legal failures over adoption by civil partners and the ban on gay men donating blood," said Alliance Party member Kieran McCarthy.

"He has continued to waste public money on his own personal campaigns despite several failures in the courts," he added.