Edwin Poots says he’s “disappointed” at the UK Supreme Court for dismissing his latest legal challenge against adoption rights for same-sex couples.

The Northern Ireland Health Minister has pursued an unsuccessful campaign to prevent civil partners and unmarried couples from adopting children in the province.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court told Mr Poots he cannot appeal a previous ruling in favour of equality.

In response, Mr Poots said: “It is with disappointment that I note that the request for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court has been refused.

“I am currently carefully considering the implications for the Adoption and Children Bill, which is currently being drafted and which I intend to introduce in the Assembly next year.”

The Court of Appeal in Belfast dismissed Mr Poot’s challenge in June 2013.

It was revealed in July that the DUP Assembly Member had used £40,000 of public money in order to fund the appeal.

Earlier this month, Mr Poots said: “It is not a human right to adopt a child for either a mixed-sex couple or a same-sex couple.”

For the past year, Mr Poots has embarked on a similarly expensive legal challenge against removing the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.

Mr Poots was told earlier this month by Belfast High Court that he’d breached the ministerial code in continuing with the ban.

It now falls to the UK Department of Health to quash the ban in Northern Ireland.

Alliance Party Assembly Member Kieran McCarthy said: “Edwin Poots’ position as Health Minister has been seriously undermined by successive legal failures over adoption by civil partners and the ban on gay men donating blood.

“He has continued to waste public money on his own personal campaigns despite several failures in the courts.

“The Minister must do what is right and urgently allow civil partners the opportunity to apply to adopt. He must accept this decision and cease any further legal action.

“There are too many children in our care system for us to be deciding who has the right to apply to adopt a child. It should be about whether a couple can provide a loving and safe home for a child.”