LONDON, May 8, 2002 ( – Tony Blair, the Labour Party prime minister of Great Britain, is supporting a bill to allow unmarried couples, including same-sex partners, to have joint custody over adopted children. Co-habiting homosexuals and non-married heterosexuals can already adopt in Britain.  The Associated Press reports that Alan Milburn, the Health Secretary, said the government would support amending the Adoption and Children Bill now before Parliament as necessary to bring about joint custody rights, on which it will allow a free vote. “The government’s objective is to increase the number of children to have the opportunity, through adoption, to grow up as part of a loving, stable and permanent family,” Milburn said.  In a move that was welcomed by the British Agency for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), the Labour government will give persons in such arrangements the opportunity to demonstrate that they can provide a “loving environment but also form a long-term stable relationship,” the Health Secretary said.  The British Conservative Party is also supporting the gay adoption amendment.

For the Associated Press story see:   To read the Bill as it now appears before the UK Parliament see:   For the British Agency for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) endorsement see:  For Daily Telegraph coverage of the opposition Conservative Party’s support for the move: