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A new survey commissioned by Barnardo's reveals that one in three people do not think gay couples can parent as well as heterosexual couples.
The children's charity polled more than 2,000 UK adults to discover if sexual orientation discrimination is prevalent against potential adopters and foster carers. There are currently over 64,000 children in the care system and adoption levels are reaching a new low.
Barnardo's newly appointed chief executive Anne Marie Carrie says that society's attitude plays a pivotal role in discouraging people from considering adoption and the idea that gay parents are second best must be challenged.
"The poll not only highlights a disturbing and prevalent belief system, but also a deepening concern that children in the care system are continuing to lose out on potential parents," Ms Currie said.
"To suggest that a same sex couple is not as able to raise a child as a heterosexual couple is at once absurd and unsubstantiated. To continue to discourage potential adopters simply because of their sexual orientation is severely diminishing the chances of securing loving, stable homes for the children who are waiting."
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