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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 05:04 GMT 06:04 UK
Gay couples could adopt children
Gay couple Tony Barlow and Barrie Drewitt with their adopted children
MPs will vote on amending adoption laws
Gay couples could be able to adopt children after the government pledged a free vote on the issue in the Commons.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn said it was sensible to allow as many children as possible to grow up in a stable family environment.


What these amendments are simply about is to widen the pool of potential adoptive parents

Alan Milburn
He was therefore offering MPs a vote on allowing unmarried couples to adopt.

Such a move would involve amending the Adoption and Children Bill.

The vote is expected to take place later this year.

Mr Milburn said it would be up to the relevant agencies to decide which people could adopt.

He said no-one had the right to adopt and stressed that at the moment single people as-well-as married couples could adopt.

"It's important when we are considering these amendments - which incidentally I personally support - that we understand that what these amendments are simply about is to widen the pool of potential adoptive parents so that more children that are vulnerable ... have the chance of the stable family life that adoption can bring," he said.

In 1999 gay couple Tony Barlow and Barrie Drewitt spent 200,000 arranging a surrogate birth to an American mother.

They made the move after an application to adopt a child in Britain was rejected, and had twins, Aspen and Saffron.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Conservative MP Andrew Lansley
"The legislation should be constructed in a way that reproduces the form of natural parenthood"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Adoption laws
Should gay couples be able to adopt?
 VOTE RESULTS
Should gay couples be allowed to adopt?

Yes
 76.87% 

No
 23.13% 

549 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

07 Feb 02 | Europe
Sweden proposes gay adoption law
19 Dec 00 | Europe
Dutch gays allowed to marry
15 Oct 99 | UK
Judge backs gay adoptions
07 May 02 | UK Politics
Q&A: Gay couples and adoption
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