The Belfast Telegraph on Wednesday reported the government made the announcement after a group of gay activists interrupted a Nov. 27 meeting that Northern Ireland Health Minister Edwin Poots attended.
Poots challenged a Northern Ireland Court of Appeal ruling in June that said the adoption ban violated European human rights law. The U.K. Supreme Court on Nov. 1 denied Poots’ request to appeal the decision.
“The natural order is for a man and a woman to have a child,” said Poots during a Nov. 12 speech in the Northern Ireland Assembly as the Belfast Telegraph reported. “Therefore, that has made my views on adoption very, very clear and on raising children very, very clear.”
Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin also opposes adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples.
Michael Wardlow, chief commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, welcomed the lifting of the ban.
“The commission has for some time advocated extending adoption legislation to allow unmarried couples, same-sex couples and those in civil partnerships to apply to be considered as adoptive parents,” said Wardlow in a statement his organization sent to the Washington Blade.
Northern Ireland had been the last part of the U.K. where same-sex couples did not have adoption rights.