Lesbian couple denied fostering rights

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Lesbian couple denied fostering rights
File photo. Photo: Wikimedia

Although people living in same-gender relationships are permitted to work with children, they are denied the right to act as foster parents, according to the Administrative Court of Lower Austria in St. Pölten.


The case had been brought by Miriam Bock (41) and Barbara Huber (40), who have been living together for several years, and who wanted to foster a child.  

Both women already work with children in official institutions, and are well qualified - one is a social worker specializing in child and youth work, while the other is a paediatric nurse with more than 15 years' experience.

The court affirmed a previous decision to deny lesbian couples the right to act as foster parents within state institutions. The reasoning of the court was that the pair could not in any way function as biological parents.  

The court held that a proper parental relationship could not be established, and therefore the couple would be unsuitable as foster parents.

According to Der Standard, the couple's lawyer Helmut Graupner expressed frustration with the "outrageous" verdict, saying that not only were the women being discriminated against, they were also being denied the right to appeal the decision. Their next step, he said, was an appeal to the European Court for Human Rights.

Although same-sex partnerships have been allowed in Austria since 2010, couples are denied the right to jointly adopt children, unless it's the biological child of one of them. 

According to Wikipedia, on 19 February 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a partner in a same-sex union has the right to adopt his or her partner's biological child.  The Austrian Parliament subsequently passed a bill that allows stepchild adoption by same-sex couples. 


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