A gay couple living in Northern Ireland have said they went to England to adopt in order to get round NI’s gay adoption ban.

John Davis and Jason Scorer, who live in County Antrim, had hoped to adopt children from the province, but were advised to consider other options.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Davis said: “We were very lucky that our original social worker in Northern Ireland had done a lot of homework before she came, to say that we could not move things any further forward.”

He added: “The problem is a lot of people may not be aware there is another option.”

“There are children waiting in the system (in Northern Ireland) to find families but, unfortunately, we were not allowed to go down that route,” said Mr Scorer.

“And that is to the hardship of the children who are here.”

The couple adopted two boys from England at the start of the summer and they started primary school last month.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Edwin Poots is trying to maintain a ban on same-sex couple adopting – even though the policy was declared unlawful in October 2012.

The DUP Assembly Member has used thousands of pounds in order to fund a legal challenge preventing same-sex couples from adopting children in the province, with the approximate final cost being £40,000.

In October 2012, Belfast High Court declared that Northern Ireland’s ban had discriminated against same-sex couples in civil partnerships and also breached their right to family life.

Last month, Mr Poots was given leave to take his case to the UK Supreme Court in London.

More than 7,500 people have signed an online petition urging Mr Poots to be sacked by the Stormont Assembly for “squandering public money in the pursuit of a personal agenda against unmarried and same-sex couples.”