German lesbian parents go to court against civil code
German lesbian parents are going to family courts since last year to reform Germany’s civil code, which would recognize them as parents of their children.
Already, two cases are going to Germany’s federal constitutional court where a favorable ruling could force the German government to change the law.
German lesbian parents fighting for their rights
Germany only allows the biological mother to be legally recognized as the parent of the child.
Because of this, the female partner has to undergo through a formal adoption process to become the child’s second parent– even if the couple are married– which can take years.
One lesbian parent told Thomson Reuters Foundation that she has to submit “a medical certificate, an HIV test, my criminal records, a self-written report of my life, and photos of me with the child, among other things.”
Because of this, two women– Christina Klitzsch-Eulenburg and Janina Eulenburg– began a “Nodoption” or no adoption initiative by filing a case in August seeking to be recognized as co-parents of their child.
This couple’s case has currently been adjourned until a ruling from the constitutional court on the two other cases comes out.
“It is discriminatory that we are required to adopt our own child,” said Klitzsch-Eulenburg. She added, “There’s something wrong in a democracy when a minority is so poorly protected.”
Germany and their treatment of the LGBTQ community
While Germany has been one of the most liberal countries in the world with regard to LGBTQ rights, it still remains conservative in some aspects.
For one, gay sex has been considered legal in Germany since the 1960s, and LGBTQ people have wide-ranging workplace discrimination protections in place. What’s more, they are allowed to serve in the military.
However, a study by the Robert Bosch Stiftung foundation in 2019 revealed that 21 percent of Germans don’t believe gay men or lesbians should have children.
In 2017, same-sex marriage was recognized in Germany. However, the German parliament– headed by the ruling CDU/CSU– rejected a Green Party bill that would automatically recognize lesbian couples as co-parents.
Last year, a similar bill filed by the Social Democrats (SPD) never made to the German parliament even as the Justice Ministry had begun to look into possible reforms.
The uphill battle of German lesbian parents
Lucy Chebout, a lawyer who represents several “Nodoption” families, said it could take two years before a ruling could be issued.
However, Chebout expressed optimism: “The winds seem to be changing.” But she added that the law on the matter still “needs to be reformed urgently.”
LSVD, Germany’s biggest LGBTQ group, said they’ve started a campaign to push the German parliament to change the law.
However, this might not happen until after the September 26 election. Moreover, while the Green Party has overtaken the CDU/CSU in polls, a possible coalition is in the offing.
“If they don’t do anything now, with the September general elections and the coalition negotiations afterwards, nothing might happen in the next year and a half,” said LSVD spokesman Markus Ulrich.
It also doesn’t help that CDU/CSU did not back SPD with their bill when they were in a coalition last year.