A lobby group called the Christian People’s Alliance (CPA) has presented a petition with 838 signatures to Sheffield City Council protesting that gay people can adopt.

The action was inspired by the case of former magistrate Andrew McClintock, a leading member of the CPA, who tried unsuccessfully to opt out of approving gay adoptions on religious grounds.

Sid Cordle from CPA, told the BBC: “People in Sheffield have a right to say if they were tragically killed in an accident and their children had to be adopted, then their children should go to a father and a mother.”

The CPA petition, which was presented to a meeting of Sheffield City Council yesterday, read:

“If ever any children of mine had to be placed into a new family for fostering or adoption I would wish that placement to include both mother and father.

“Please would the Council take this into consideration when placing children for fostering and adoption.”

It was not well-received by councillors.

According to the Sheffield Star, the petition was referred to council cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Harry Harpham.

To applause from fellow councillors he said:

“Same sex couples are entitled under law to apply to adopt. The law is very clear that we must consider adoption applications from people regardless of whether they are married, single, in civil partnerships or living as partners.

“I’m very happy to follow this law because I believe that we should judge people’s adoption applications based on whether or not we think they would provide a good home for children.

“We do not discriminate according to race, religion, gender or sexuality.

“The most important thing for me is that children who need families are given a safe and welcoming place to live, where they will be happy, and able to live fulfilled lives.”

The Sexual Orientation Regulations, which came into force last year, make it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation when accessing goods or services. The law applies to adoption agencies.

Despite protests Roman Catholic adoption agencies will be required to comply with the law by the end of this year or close down.

In March last year Mr McClintock’s legal action against the Lord Chancellor, claiming that his Bible-influenced opinions should allow him to be excused from approving gay adoptions, was rejected by a Sheffield employment tribunal.

“Gay couples have human rights too,” the tribunal said.

In October an employment appeal tribunal rejected his appeal. Mr McClintock has lodged paperwork with the Court of Appeal.

Mr McClintock had claimed that evidence given in his defence by a right-wing American academic, claiming that gay parents were bad for kids, was not given due consideration by the Sheffield tribunal.

They heard evidence from Dean Byrd, who is a prominent promoter of so-called conversion therapy as a “cure” for homosexuality.

Dr Byrd flew in from Utah to share his opinions on gay parenting with the tribunal.

He is Vice-President of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

NARTH supports so-called conversion therapy and lobbies the American Psychiatric Association to re-label gay people mentally ill.

Mr McClintock resigned from the South Yorkshire Courts Panel after being informed he would not be allowed to opt-out of cases that he felt would conflict with his religious views.

A key part of his case was that as a magistrate he has to act in the best interests of the child and that placing them with gay people was detrimental to them.