● Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2017, but a Green Party bill to automatically recognize lesbian spouses as co-parents were defeated by parliament.
● Only the biological mother is legally recognized as a parent in Germany, and her female spouse, even if they are married, must go through a formal adoption procedure to become the child's second parent.
● Since the 1960s, gay sex has been legal, and LGBT+ people are protected from workplace discrimination and are eligible to serve in the military.
● In India, LGBTQ+ people can adopt, but same-sex couples cannot.
● You and your spouse may adopt a child separately and raise him or her together if you are a same-sex couple, but you and your spouse cannot be the legal parents of that child in India.
When Inga and her wife Jenny welcomed the birth of their first child, the last thing she planned was a criminal record search in her quest to be recognized as the baby's second mother. As a result, Inga went to court to get the legislation changed.
Only the biological mother is legally recognized as a parent in Germany, and her female spouse, even if they are married, must go through a formal adoption procedure to become the child's second parent. And it can take years for the process to complete.
"Among other items, they asked for a medical certificate, an HIV test, my criminal history, a self-written account of my life, and photos of me with the boy," says Inga, 38, a Berlin resident. She went on to say, "There is no knowledge available about how these items are evaluated: how safe must I be in order to be a parent? Is there a limit to how much I have to smile in photos? Alternatively, how much money should I make?" Inga refused to give her full name because her parental rights lawsuit, which she filed in December, is still pending.
LGBT Rights In Germany
In terms of LGBT+ citizenship, Germany is one of the most liberal countries in the world. Since the 1960s, gay sex has been legal, and LGBT+ people are protected from workplace discrimination and are eligible to serve in the military. It is, however, still a conservative country in pieces.
According to a 2019 study conducted by Robert Bosch Stiftung, 21% of Germans believe gay men and lesbians should not be allowed to have children.
According to the Network of European LGBTIQ Families Associations, Germany is halfway between countries like the United Kingdom, Spain, and Austria, which grant joint parenthood from birth, and East European states that do not allow second-parent adoption.
Based in Berlin, in March of this year, Carrie and Marie-Luise were one of two couples whose case was referred to the constitutional court. "We're doing it for our kids, but also for all the other rainbow families that are in a similar situation," Carrie said, declining to give her full name.
Lawyer Lucy Chebout, who represents many 'Nodoption' families, estimates that a decision will take two years. She is, however, upbeat. "The winds seem to be shifting," Chebout said, adding that the law "urgently needs to be reformed."
Recognition As Parents For Lesbians
Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2017, but a Green Party bill to automatically recognize lesbian spouses as co-parents were defeated by parliament. Last year, the Social Democrats (SPD) proposed a bill that never made it to parliament.
Inga and Jenny are one of more than a dozen lesbian couples who have taken their case to court since August of last year, attempting to change Germany's civil code, which does not recognize lesbian parents, requiring the second woman to apply for adoption of her own child.
Cases are currently being heard in family courts around the country, with two of them headed to the federal constitutional court, where a favourable decision could compel the government to amend the rule.
The nine-month wait for Inga to be recognized as the mother of her son, who was born in 2018, was traumatic. Jenny had returned to work and had to take him to the hospital several times when he became seriously ill, but she had no legitimate parental rights. "They wouldn't consider me his mother legally," Inga said, "so I wasn't allowed to make any decisions about his health."
Christina Klitzsch-Eulenburg and Janina Eulenburg started the 'Nodoption' or no adoption movement in August when they filed a case to be recognized as co-parents of their child. "The requirement that we raise our own child is discriminatory. When a minority is too badly covered in a democracy, something is wrong "Klitzsch-case Eulenburg's has been postponed until the constitutional court decides on the other two lawsuits, according to her lawyer.
Meanwhile, Germany's largest LGBT+ organization, LSVD, has launched a petition to convince German legislators to amend the law. However, intervention is unlikely before Germany's election on September 26th, which will see Chancellor Angela Merkel step down, giving the country its first new leader in 16 years.
According to polls, the Green Party is gaining ground on Merkel's ruling CDU/CSU coalition, with a coalition between the two parties seen as the most likely outcome following the election.
"If they don't act now, nothing will happen in the next year and a half," said LSVD spokesman Markus Ulrich, referring to the September general elections and subsequent coalition talks.
However, LGBT+ advocates believe that reforming the legislation through parliament is unlikely, considering that the conservative CDU/CSU, which is in a grand coalition with the SPD, did not support its junior partner's proposed bill last year. Requests for comment from the CDU/CSU were not returned.
The delays upset Klitzsch-Eulenburg. "It can't be that my son won't have two legal parents until he's five or six years old," she said.
In India, LGBTQ+ people can adopt, but same-sex couples cannot. You and your spouse may adopt a child separately and raise him or her together if you are a same-sex couple, but you and your spouse cannot be the legal parents of that child in India. As single parents, many Indian LGBT people in same-sex relationships have adopted children, but their partners have no legal rights to the child.
The Union cabinet has voted to exclude same-sex couples from adopting children, a step that could also bar members of the LGBT community from becoming adoptive parents.
Unmarried men and women over the age of 30 may adopt under current law. Adoption is not explicitly prohibited for single LGBT Indians.