On August 1, the Austrian Government’s legislation on same-sex, second parent adoption came into effect, five months after Austria had been found guilty of discrimination at the European Court of Human Rights.
Earlier this year, the ECHR decided that Austria violated Articles 14 (prohibition of discrimination) and 8 (the right to respect private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court concluded that:
“the [Austrian] Government has failed to adduce particularly weighty and convincing reasons to show that excluding second-parent adoption in a same-sex couple, while allowing that possibility in an unmarried different-sex couple, was necessary for the protection of the family in the traditional sense or for the protection of the interests of the child. The distinction is therefore incompatible with the Convention.”
The other twelve European countries to also have adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:
“We warmly welcome Austria to the family of European countries recognising same-sex partners’ second adoption rights. This is a very important step towards full equality for same-sex families and their children. The right of a child to have legal links with her/his parents, regardless of their marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, is paramount and these children should not be discriminated against because of their parents’ characteristics.”