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Austria declares ban on gay adoption illegal

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Photo: Arne Dedert/Bildfunk
12:22 CET+01:00
Austria’s highest court has lifted a ban on same sex couples adopting children, the court’s president Gerhart Holzinger announced on Wednesday.

Holzinger said that the court found that there was “no justification for difference in treatment because of sexual orientation”.

Since 2013 gay couples in Austria have been entitled to step-child adoption - meaning that one partner can adopt the biological child of the other.

The law was changed after a lesbian couple who wanted to jointly raise one partner's child won their case at the European Court for Human Rights, which ruled that Austria's adoption laws discriminated against gay people.

Helmut Graupner, from the Lambda legal committee which offers free legal counselling in all areas of the law related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life, said he was “over the moon” about the lifting of the ban.

The lawyers for the women on whose case the decision was based called the decision “a complete success”, and called on Austria’s government to recognise same-sex marriage.

Same-sex couples may form a “registered partnership” in Austria, but do not have access to the same government marital benefits as heterosexual couples do.

Some EU countries such as Britain, the Netherlands and France allow same-sex marriage with full adoption rights. But in others such as Portugal, Germany and Hungary varying restrictions remain.

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