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German court strengthens adoption rights for same-sex couples

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

BERLIN — Germany’s highest court strengthened gay couples’ adoption rights in a ruling Tuesday that the country’s justice minister greeted as “a historic step.”

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled that one member of a civil partnership should be able to adopt the partner’s stepchild or adopted child.

Until now, they could only adopt a partner’s biological child.

Germany has allowed same-sex couples to register civil partnerships that legally fall short of formal marriage since 2001. Unlike many other European countries, including Spain, the Netherlands and, most recently, France and Britain, it hasn’t moved toward allowing full same-sex marriage.

The court ruled on a challenge to the existing rules from a woman who was denied permission to adopt a Bulgarian girl whom her partner had adopted. It ordered the government to draw up new legislation by June 2014.

It said the German constitutional provision that “marriage and the family shall enjoy the special protection of the state,” cannot be used to justify ruling out same-sex partners adopting the other partner’s adopted child.

“In marriage as in a civil partnership, adoption provides the child in the same way with legal security and material advantages in terms of care, support and inheritance law,” presiding judge, Ferdinand Kirchhof, said.

Though the ruling means that same-sex couples can now adopt the same child on an individual basis, they still cannot adopt children together as a couple. Germany’s main gay rights group called for that to be changed after the ruling.

In a separate case, the court is considering whether gay partnerships should be granted the tax breaks given to married couples; it’s unclear when a ruling will come.

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6 more reader comments:

  1. Right on Germany!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 9:43am
  2. Everytime I read where another country is moving beyond where America is re. social justice and human rights for LGBT individuals, I want to scream and cry simultaneously. The feelings of envy and outrage battle for space.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 9:43am
  3. The major obstacle to social justice and human rights in the US is religion. Religion is the major source of immorality, injustice and cruelty because it gives justification to any kind of evil.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 9:57am
  4. We’re moving much faster and farther than I ever expected in my lifetime. With each day we’re moving even faster. Before I die I will be able to marry my partner of 20 years and have it count no matter where I am in the U.S. I know this. I feel this. 10 years ago I never believed this. Never imagined this. Keep pushing, we’ll get there.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 10:29am
  5. I am Straight for Equality, and we are going to make this happen for you, Mark, and for all gay Americans and we will move on to the whole world. LOVE WINS

    Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 11:14am
  6. So proud to be German right now

    Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 5:05pm