Irish senators approve same-sex adoption bill

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Irish senators have approved plans for same-sex couples to adopt.

The Seanad in the Republic of Ireland spent nearly a week discussing the Children and Family Relationship Bill – which was subject to over 120 amendments, and days of debate.

It was approved late on Monday after nearly eight hours of debate, clearing the Seanad by a vote of 20-2.

The bill – which passed the lower house earlier last month – follows up on a promise to extend adoption rights to same-sex partners and co-habiting couples, ahead of the country’s referendum on same-sex marriage on May 22.

It now awaits the signature of Irish President Michael D Higgins, who will sign the bill into law as Head of State.

The bill received a standing ovation when it passed – and given the controversy surrounding the country’s same-sex marriage referendum, cleared the Seanad remarkably without incident.

Recent polls have suggested around a 70% support for same-sex marriage in Ireland. Actor Colin Farrell recently confirmed his support for it “with every fibre of my being”.

Independent Senator Rónán Mullen and former Fianna Fáil Senator Jim Walsh, who quit his party over its support for the bill, were the only two senators to vote against it.

Mr Walsh also opposes same-sex marriage, claiming the money would be better spent on HIV testing.

In addition to allowing same-sex adoption, the bill reforms some aspects of guardianship and custody, and creates a donor register for assisted reproduction.