New adoption rights for German civil partners

Civil partners in Germany will gain the right to adopt their partner’s step or adopted children, after the country’s highest court ruled that current restrictions were discriminatory.

Under existing legislation, only heterosexual couples can adopt their partner’s non-biological children.

The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany has now ordered the government to draft new laws by  June next year.

However, same sex couples in Germany will be prohibited from adopting unrelated children.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said:

“Today’s decision marks a historic step finally to put rainbow families in Germany on a comprehensive, secure legal footing. Full adoption must be the next step.”

Meanwhile, four UK couples are to challenge their current exclusion from civil partnership legislation at the European Court of Human Rights.

According to a Telegraph report, all four couples have applied for civil partnerships at registry offices in a public challenge to current legislation but have been refused because they are heterosexual.

They claim this exclusion amounts to discrimination. Gay right campaigner Peter Tatchell is spearheading a campaign to change the law. He told the Telegraph:

“The Government claims that it is introducing same-sex marriage because it believes in equality, well if that’s the case why won’t it also recognise the right of heterosexual couples to have a civil partnership. For some people, civil partnerships are marriage without the history of sexism and without all the traditional trappings of what a wedding is supposed to be. It is a simple, more informal, modern form of relationship recognition.”

Photo of a German flag flying over the Reichstag by Doug via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

 

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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