German High Court Takes ‘Historic’ Step to Strengthen Adoption Rights for Gay Couples

Germany's top court made a historic ruling on Tuesday, the AP reports:

GermanyThe 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.

Deutsche Welle adds:

It ruled that same-sex couples could provide for a child as well as couples in a traditional marriage.

"In marriage as in a civil partnership, adoption provides the child with legal security and material advantages in terms of care, support and inheritance law," presiding judge Ferdinand Kirchof told the court.

The ruling followed a legal challenge from a woman who was forbidden from adopting a Bulgarian-born child whom her female partner had adopted.

Tuesday's decision does not alter legislation, however, which forbids same-sex couples jointly adopting a child. They may still only adopt the same child on an individual basis.


  1. DB says

    How horrific that Germany is so far behind America that gay couples cannot jointly adopt children. All Americans should be thankful that, although we have a long way to on gay civil rights, we are ahead of parts of Europe in other critical ways.

  2. Jean Marche says

    I would not say that Germany is far behind on gay civil rights. Civil unions with a broad range of rights (including permanent residence for foreign partners) are legal on a federal level as is protection against discrimination. The only things lacking now are joint adpotion, access to fertility procedures and equal taxation issues…

  3. DB says

    Jean Marche, Germany also does not have legal recognition of marriage. Civil unions are no substitute. My husband and I have two adopted children (and I am the biological father through sperm donation to a female couple’s two children). Joint adoption and access to fertility procedures are absolutely vital and available even in conservative states in America. The law should help to protect children; only full equality in adoption, surrogacy, sperm donation, and egg donation laws can achieve that.

  4. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    @ DB,

    No need to single out Germany in this case. Britain, Scandinavia, the Low Countries and Spain are the only countries with full adoption rights. Germany (up until now) and Finland have only stepparent adoption. The rest of Europe (including France) has no provision whatsoever for gay people adopting children.