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Last Updated: Monday, 12 May, 2003, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Dismissal threat over gay adoption
A baby clasps an adult's hands
Gay couples can now legally adopt

Two social workers in Merseyside were threatened with the sack after objecting to gay couples adopting children.

The two women, both practising Christians who work for Sefton Council, had complained that adoption by gay and lesbian couples could alienate youngsters.

Norah Ellis, 46, from Ormskirk, and Dawn Jackson, from Crosby, received letters from council bosses asking them to reconsider their views or face disciplinary action.

They have now moved to work with the council's adult services unit.

West Lancashire MP Colin Pickthall, who represents Mrs Ellis, said Sefton Council's handling of the situation was "clumsy".

Mr Pickthall said: "The council is obliged to implement this law, and it's a law I voted for, but they should have been more tactful.

"It was to be anticipated that people with religious views might get upset. As soon as these women expressed their concerns, there should have been a meeting to work it out.

Government guidelines

"These women had worked successfully, and for a long time, in the adoption service. They should have been helped and not put in that position."

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: "The issues these women raised had to be resolved.

"It was explained that if we could not find a solution, they may face disciplinary action.

"It has been legal for a gay individual to adopt a child for years, and now it is legal for gay couples to adopt.

"The council was just following the government guidelines."

A spokeswoman for Unison, the public services union, called for the government to set clearer guidelines for employees at adoption services.

Head-to-head: Gay adoption
16 Oct 02  |  UK News

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