Gay couples in Scotland will be permitted to adopt children together from next week.
Currently, a gay person can adopt a child but their partner has no legal rights or responsibilities as a parent.
The new provision will come into law on Monday September 28th and will bring Scotland in line with England and Wales on gay adoptions.
It was welcomed by Carl Watt, the director of Stonewall Scotland, who said: “What all children need and deserve most of all is a safe, secure, loving and stable home environment and same sex couples are equally able to provide this as opposite sex couples.
“This legislation also means that there will be hopefully fewer children in care homes and more with homes and families of their own.”
Adoptions by gay individuals in Scotland are thought to be rare, with only two cases in Edinburgh.
The Catholic church in Scotland has already criticised the new rights, saying that gay relationships are not stable enough to care for children.
Spokesman Peter Kearney told the Herald: “Children need security and stability and civil partnerships and same-sex relationships are profoundly unstable.
“This change is unlikely to have an effect on the shortage of adoptive parents because there are very few same-sex couples interested in adoption.
“It would have been better if the government had launched a campaign to encourage heterosexual married couples to consider adopting.”