A GROWING number of adoptions in York are by gay or lesbian couples, new figures have revealed.

City of York Council data, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, shows that so far this year, 12.5 per cent of overall applications for adoption have been from gay/lesbian or transgender couples or individuals, and all applicants have been successful.

The figure is up from nine per cent last year and there were no such adoptions in 2009.

The authority refused to reveal the number of applications made, saying this could lead to identification. Greg Stephenson, chairman of York Pride, welcomed the growing trend.

He said: “It’s great to see more and more LGBT couples deciding to apply to be adoptive parents, and it is even more encouraging to see they are being recognised as suitable parents.

“This rising trend is a welcome sign that being LGBT isn’t a barrier to raising a family through adoption in the City of York.

“Society continues to progress and this sends a strong message of acceptance to York’s LGBT community.”

Campaign group Stonewall said the Adoption and Children Act passed into law in 2002, allowing unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to apply for joint adoption.

“Any unmarried couple, including a same-sex couple, wishing to adopt will need to be able to demonstrate that their partnership is an ‘enduring family relationship’, it said.

“In addition to this, laws have been in place since 2007 which make it unlawful for providers of goods and services – including adoption and fostering services - to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. This law continues to be enforced under the Equality Act 2010.”

Howard Lovelady, of the council’s children’s services department, said it welcomed interest from anyone wanting to offer a child a new family home through adoption.

“We look at each inquirer’s individual circumstances and what they are able to offer a child,” he said. “To this end,we are keen to hear from people of all sexual orientations including gay and lesbian people and both single people and those in committed relationships.

“As a relatively small local authority, we have historically approved around 12 new adoptive families each year. However, our goal is to increase this to at least 18 families this year and we are actively looking for applicants to come forward to help provide children with a loving adoption family home.”

He invited people to come along to a monthly information session to find out more about what adoption involved.

“The next session is on Tuesday October 8, at West Offices, Station Rise, between 6.30pm - 8.30pm. If anyone would like to attend they should contact the team on 01904 555308/3525 or adoptionandfostering@york.gov.uk.”