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Fri 26 Jan 2007 In: International News

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday sought to quell the row over gay adoptions, insisting he was "committed to finding a way through this sensitive and difficult decision". In a statement released by 10 Downing Street, Mr Blair insisted he had always personally been in favour of the right of gay couples to adopt, adding that proposals to resolve the dispute will be brought forward next week. Reports today suggested that Mr Blair had "caved in" to cabinet colleagues who do not want to see any exemption for Catholic adoption agencies from new regulations that will require them to offer children to same-sex couples. In his statement the prime minister said: "I have always personally been in favour of the right of gay couples to adopt. "Our priority will always be the welfare of the child." Alluding to a compromise deal, the Prime Minister said he would work to find a solution that ended discrimination against gay people and also ensured the protection of vulnerable children receiving help with adoption and after-care from Catholic agencies. Mr Blair said: "There is one last aspect within the new regulations to resolve and it concerns adoption. He added: "Both gay couples and the Catholic agencies have a high level of success in adopting hard-to-place children. It is for that reason we have taken time to ensure we get these regulations right. "How do we protect the principle of ending discrimination against gay people and at the same time protect those vulnerable children who at the present time are being placed through, and after-care provided by, Catholic agencies, who everyone accepts do a great job with some of the most disturbed youngsters? "We will announce a decision next week and then vote, probably next month. "I am committed to finding a way through this sensitive and difficult decision." The new regulations introduced by last year's Equality Act are due to come into force on April 6 and will make it illegal to discriminate against gay people in the provision of goods and services. They must be approved by both Houses of Parliament before coming into force. More on this story from the UK's Guardian wesbite is on the link below.     Ref: The Guardian (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 26th January 2007 - 12:00pm

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