A branch of the urban mission and welfare service of the Anglican Church in Australia has inadvertently become involved in the political row about gay parenting by taking an advert in a gay publication.

Teenshare, part of Anglicare, has taken the ad in monthly gay paper OUT in Perth to encourage gay and lesbian couples to foster children aged 12 to 17.

Last month the news that a gay male couple had adopted a baby was welcomed by lawmakers in the state of Western Australia but church groups and conservative politicians have criticised the decision.

It was the first same-sex couple adoption in Australia.

It is understood the child’s mother was consulted and approved of the adoption of her child by two gay men.

Anglicare WA chief executive Ian Carter, told The Western Australian:

“Our focus is to deliver the best possible service we can for kids in care and, in this day and age, that may include a range of things that were not considered in the past.”

The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, is well-known for his hostility to gay parents.