European Court of Human Rights: ban on same-sex second-parent adoption is discriminatory

| February 19, 2013

Today the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of X and Others v. Austria (application 19010/07) and ruled that Austria’s Civil Code discriminates against a partner in a same-sex relationship by making it legally impossible to adopt the biological child of the other partner while permitting second parent adoptions for unmarried heterosexual couples.

The organisations that provided written submissions in this case (FIDH, ICJ, ILGA-Europe, BAAF, NELFA, and ECSOL) welcome this judgment and consider it a landmark judgment applying the European Court of Human Rights’ case law on equal treatment of unmarried couples to same-sex couples applying for second-parent adoption.

Children in same-sex families are highly vulnerable due to a lack of legal recognition and their inability to establish legal links to both of their parents.

Currently, second-parent adoption is possible in 11 European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Great Britain. New legislation that would allow it is planned in France, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Moreover, as a result of the Court’s judgment, it would follow that the legislation of Austria, Andorra, parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Portugal and Romania should be amended to allow same-sex couples to apply for second-parent adoption, because these countries already permit unmarried heterosexual couples to do so.

Category: Media Monitoring

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