Same sex couples will be legally able to adopt children in Austria after the country’s constitutional court overturned a ban against it.
Only married couples had previously been allowed to adopt a child. This presented a problem for gay couples looking to adopt because same-sex marriage is not legal in the country. Gay couples are able to form a “registered partnership” but they do not have the same legal rights as married couples.
This week, the Austrian Constitutional Court ruled that, when it comes to adoption, there was “no justification for difference in treatment because of sexual orientation”.
Gay couples had been allowed to adopt biological children of their partner, but they were not permitted to adopt children who were not related to either of them. This rule was brought in after a lesbian couple took their wish to adopt one partner’s child to the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in their favour.
Other European countries such as Germany, Hungary and Portugal also have restrictions on same-sex adoption. However, this situation may change in Portugal as a bill which will allow gay couples to adopt and access fertility treatment will soon be introduced in their Parliament.
Portugal legalised same-sex marriage in 2010 while the country’s Socialist Party was in power. Even though they are now in opposition, reports suggest the bill may be adopted if the current coalition government allows a free vote.