Starting Monday, September 28 gay and lesbian couples in Scotland will be allowed to adopt children, the Herald Scotland reported.

Gay men and lesbians currently may adopt children but only individually. Under the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007, gay couples will be allowed to jointly share in parental responsibilities.

The new law puts Scotland on par with England and Wales.

Gay couples in Scotland are denied the right to marry but may enter into a civil partnership, a legal union similar to Vermont's 2000 pioneering civil union law. About 34,000 gay and lesbian couples have entered into a civil partnership in the 36 months prior to December 2008 in England, Wales and Scotland.

“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,” Carl Watt, director of the gay rights group Stonewall, told the paper.

A spokesman for the Church in Scotland criticized the law, saying most gay couples are not interested in adopting.

“Children need security and stability and civil partnerships and same sex relationships are profoundly unstable,” Peter Kearney said. “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.”