French court says lesbian couple can adopt

Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:45am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Gilbert Reilhac

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - A French court on Tuesday allowed a lesbian woman to adopt a child with her partner after 11 years of legal battle, in what gay rights campaigners said was an unprecedented victory.

French law allows single people to adopt but not same-sex couples, a position that has been criticized by the European Court of Human Rights.

Some couples get around the ban by filing an application in the name of only one partner and ticking the "single" box, but 48-year-old teacher Emmanuelle B. was determined to have the right to adopt as a couple recognized by the courts.

She prevailed on Tuesday when an administrative tribunal in the eastern town of Besancon overruled the regional authorities, who had rejected the woman's application.

"This is a wonderful victory against homophobia, at a time when homophobic comments and attitudes are still common in our society," said Caroline Mecary, the woman's lawyer.

Government spokesman Luc Chatel said the ruling would provide food for thought for policymakers.

"The government and the president have on several occasions expressed our position which is that we are not in favor of the adoption of children by same-sex couples," he told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting.

"A legal ruling has been handed down. Well, we have to take note and I think it should contribute to our thinking on the subject," Chatel said.   Continued...