Austria rescinds ban on adoption by same-sex couples
The Austrian Constitutional Court has rescinded the country's ban on same-sex couples adopting children. The Austrian Press Agency reports that Judge Gerhart Holzinger announced the judgment today.
Gays and lesbians in Austria have been able to adopt their partner's child since 2013, but same-sex couples have been banned from adopting a child together. The court has now stated in its judgment that the ban on such adoption is unconstitutional and that there is no reason to restrict adoption on the basis of parents' sexual orientation.
The judgment references the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to family and private life. The APA reports that while the Convention does not mention a right to adoption, the court believes that when a country makes adoption possible, such a right must be enjoyed equally and without discrimination.
Two years ago Austria permitted gays and lesbians to adopt their partner's child after the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Alpine republic to rescind its same-sex adoption ban. Elsewhere in Europe, Denmark and the Netherlands are pioneers in the field of gay rights.
Denmark became the first country in the world to facilitate registered partnership for gays and lesbians in 1989, and in 2001 the Netherlands became the first state to introduce marriage for same-sex couples and to permit gays and lesbians to adopt children. Currently roughly 20 countries permit same-sex marriages and many other states have registered partnerships including adoption or property settlement provisions.
In the Czech Republic a law on registered partnership has been in force since 2006, but gays and lesbians are not able to adopt children. According to data from the 2011 census, roughly 1 000 children throughout the country are being raised by same-sex couples.
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