LONDON -- Britain's upper chamber of Parliament voted Tuesday to lift a ban on unmarried and gay couples adopting children, reversing its earlier defeat of the legislation.
The House of Lords approval came after the House of Commons voted for the measure, meaning it now is almost certain to become law. It will make Britain the fifth European country to allow gay couples to adopt along with Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the Netherlands.
South Africa became the first African country to let same sex couples legally adopt children with a Sept. 10 court ruling.
Under British law, single heterosexuals and homosexuals may adopt children but unmarried and gay couples may not. The government says changing the law will help thousands of children currently awaiting adoption. Opponents say only marriage provides the stable environment children need.