In a sad setback for Elton John, who was trying to adopt a 14-month-old Ukrainian boy who has HIV, the country’s minister for family affairs says the pop star will not be able to adopt, because he’s too old and isn’t traditionally married.
On Saturday Elton toured a hospital for HIV-infected children in eastern Ukraine as part of a charity project, and said he and partner David Furnish wanted to adopt a boy named Lev, the Associated Press reports.

Ukraine’s Family, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko told the AP that adoptive parents have to be married, and the country doesn’t recognize homosexual unions as marriage. He also added that at 62, Elton is too old.

“Foreign citizens who are single have no right to adopt children … and the age difference between the adopter and the child cannot be more than 45 years,” Pavlenko said. “The law is the same for everybody: for a president, for a minister, for Elton John.”

Elton gave Lev a big kiss at the orphanage in Makiyivka, saying, “I don’t know how we do that, but he has stolen my heart. And he has stolen David’s heart and it would be wonderful if we can have a home.”

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