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European court rules Austria’s adoption law discriminated against lesbian couple

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
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The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday ruled against Austria’s decision to deny a lesbian woman the right to adopt her longtime partner’s son.

The court in Strasbourg, France, found there was no persuasive reason to treat the couple differently from an unmarried heterosexual couple in the boy’s adoption.

Under Austrian law, allowing the woman to adopt the boy would have severed his mother’s parental rights, based on a 2006 Austrian ruling that the term “parents” was intended to mean two people of different sex.

Tuesday’s ruling acknowledged that European law on adoption by same-sex couples is in flux, but found that Austria had discriminated against the couple.

It ordered the government to pay more than €38,000 ($50,000) in damages.

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