In a ruling issued a few days ago on an appeal brought by two Austrian women and the son of one of them, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that “partners in same-sex couples should have the right to adopt his/her partners’ children, the same as for unmarried heterosexual couples”.
In Austria the adoption of the partners’ child is possible for unmarried heterosexual couples so, discriminating against applicants on the basis of sexual orientation of the parents, from the Court’s point of view, violated their rights.
According to the Court of Human Rights the right to non – discrimination and the right to respect for family life (Articles 14 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights) have been violated and the Austrian Government has failed to demonstrate that the difference in treatment between gay couples and heterosexual is necessary to protect the family or the child’s interests.
The ruling, that has been made definitive by the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg Court, deals with Austria but the principles apply to all other 46 member states of the Council of Europe; however, the Court emphasized that states are not obliged to recognize the partners’ children adoption right to unmarried couples.
Gay marriage is not recognized in all over the world but it is already legal in certain countries: the Netherlands, the first country to allow gay marriage and gay adoptions, in 2001, Belgium, since 2003 (gay adoptions since 2006), Spain and Canada (since 2005), South Africa (since 2006), Norway and Sweden (since 2009), Portugal, Iceland and Argentina (since 2010), Mexico, but only in the capital (Mexico City), United States, only in nine states and in Washington DC .
Also in the United Kingdom, after the vote on February the 2th, the House of Commons approved the law that authorize marriages between persons of the same sex, with a majority of 400 votes in favor and 175 votes against. The measure, approved mainly thanks to the support of Labour and Libdem deputies, was commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron who has stated: “It is a step forward for our entire nation” that “will make our country stronger.”
The gay marriage law, however, has caused great chaos within the Conservative Party in power: “Marriage is a union between man and woman, has been so in history and should remain so – said the Tory Roger Gale deputy – We are in the territory of Alice in Wonderland, they are trying to rewrite the dictionary”. The Prime Minister declared that he respects the ideas of the “rebels” of his party, but that the renewal must continue.