The Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee has hit a stumbling block over a new law allowing gay couple’s to jointly adopt in the country.

Conflicts emerged in a consultation meeting yesterday attended by adoption agencies, gay groups and Catholic organisations.

Gay groups said the child’s care is more important than the sexuality of the parents, Rebekah Pratt, of the group Rainbow Families, said: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents do provide tried and tested, loving and secure, enriching homes to meet the best interests of children.”

But Catholic adoption agencies pushed for an opt out, which has been applied in England and Wales, Stephen Small, from the St Andrew’s Children Society, said: “We would like to see more evidence on children’s experiences being brought up in same-sex adoption situations before we felt it was something we should involve ourselves.”

The Adoption Bill aims to counter a significant reduction in families available for vulnerable children by allowing gay and unmarried couples to adopt, but has been seen by some Catholics such as Reverend Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell, as “yet another violation of family life.”

Unmarried gay couples in England and Wales have had adoption rights since a bill introduced in 2002 and implemented in 2005.