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By Hilary White

EDINBURGH, September 23, 2009 ( – Scotland's devolved parliament has announced that, starting next week, homosexual partners may adopt children together and both be regarded as the child's parents.

Previously the rules said that homosexuals could adopt only as singles. Legislation in 2005 granted adoption rights to unmarried couples, including homosexual partners in England and Wales.

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church, denied that the move would provide more stable homes for children. “This change is unlikely to have an effect on the shortage of adoptive parents because there are very few same sex couples interested in adoption,” he said.

“It would have been better if the Government had launched a campaign to encourage heterosexual married couples to consider adopting.”

Kearney added, “Children need security and stability and civil partnerships and same sex relationships are profoundly unstable.”

A Populus poll in July for the Times that found 47 per cent of the British population are against homosexuals adopting children, with 49 per cent in favor.

Catholic adoption agencies in the UK have largely gone willingly along with the change to include homosexuals for consideration for adoption. Edinburgh's Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned last year as president from the local Catholic adoption agency, the St Andrew's Children's Society, when the group announced it wanted to adopt to “a broad spectrum of people,” in compliance with the Labour government's Sexual Orientation Regulations.

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