A gay couple say they have had to travel to England to adopt two children due to restrictions in the legal system in Northern Ireland.
Gay couples can apply to adopt in Northern Ireland following a Court of Appeal ruling in June, something which had already been possible in Great Britain.
However, Health Minister Edwin Poots has applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal against the ruling.
John Davis and Jason Scorer, who are both English and live near Carrickfergus, are in a civil partnership.
“We didn’t really have a choice about where to adopt,” John said.
“Progress in adopting in Northern Ireland was really slow.”
He added: “One social worker told us of a heterosexual couple who got so frustrated by delays that they had gone to England to adopt.”
John and Jason adopted two boys from England in April, who are now in primary one and primary three in their new Northern Ireland home.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said the minister remains opposed to adoption by gay couples because there was “overwhelming opposition” in Northern Ireland to plans by Direct Rule Ministers to introduce it when they consulted on proposed reforms in 2006.
“The minister has consistently acted in the interests of children, whom he believes are best served by a family headed by a mother and father in a loving, low-conflict, stable marriage,” she said.
“This is a view shared by 95 per cent of those who responded to consultation in 2006; the 975 organisations, 29 individuals and the 545 signatories to eight petitions who opposed the proposal to extend the eligibility to apply to adopt criteria to unmarried couples and civil partners.”
Alliance health spokesperson Kieran McCarthy MLA yesterday called on the Health Minister to cease his legal action against adoption by civil partners.
Mr McCarthy said: “There are too many children in our care system for us to be deciding who has the right to apply to adopt a child. It should be about whether a couple can provide a loving and safe home for a child.”