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Northern Ireland Lifts Ban on Same-Sex Couples Adopting
By Alex J. Davidson, The Advocate
Add Northern Ireland to the list of places expanding rights for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples in civil partnerships there can now adopt children just as straight couples can, according to PinkNews.co.uk. Previously, a single gay or lesbian could adopt a child but not if he or she was coupled in a legally recognized relationship. PinkNews.co.uk reports: The court decision to extend adoption rights to gay couples had been
challenged by Health Minister Edwin Poots, who recently said he was “disappointed” at the UK
Supreme Court for dismissing his latest legal challenge against adoption rights for same-sex couples. The Supreme Court said his d
epartment’s case did not meet the criteria for appeal.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Following the Court of Appeal judgement in June
2013, unmarried couples, including same sex couples, and those in a civil partnership may apply to adopt.
final decision regarding the granting of an adoption order will lie with the court.”
In related news, same-sex weddings in England and Wales will commence March 29. Couples wishing to get married must submit a formal notice by March 13. The decision to allow same-sex couples to adopt applies only to Northern Ireland since it is the only part of the United Kingdom that had such a policy.
India's Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Gay Sex Law
By NIRMALA GEORGE, Associated Press
India's Supreme Court struck down a 2009 lower court decision to decriminalize homosexual conduct, dealing a blow Wednesday to gay activists who have fought for years for the chance to live openly in India's deeply conservative society. The judges said only lawmakers and not the courts could change a colonial-era law that bans homosexual acts and makes them punishable by up to a decade in prison. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community across India reacted to the surprise decision with defiance. "We cannot be forced back into the closet. We are not backing off from our fight against discrimination," said Gautam Bhan, an activist who had petitioned the court. After the ruling, dozens of activists outside the court began crying and hugging each other in consolation. "This is a very sad day for us, we are back to square one in our fight for the democratic rights of the gay community," said Ashok Row Kavi of the activist group Humsafar Trust.