same-sex adoption Germany

Germany Legalized Gay Marriage, But Its Same-Sex Adoptions Are Still Screwed Up (and So Are Israel’s)

Even though Germany’s President signed the country’s new same-sex marriage measure into law yesterday, the law doesn’t sort out the country’s adoption process for same-sex couples, particularly for children whose biological parents marry a same-sex spouse, according to BBC.com. This news comes on the heels of thousands of Israelis protesting their country’s homophobic adoption policies, resulting in several arrests.

What’s going on with same-sex adoption in Germany?

For single heterosexual mothers with children, Germany’s adoption law is pretty straightforward: A man becomes a child’s father simply by marrying its biological mother. Done.

But for single LGBTQ parents with biological children, the new marriage law does nothing to change the current system, something BBC.com describes as “a difficult and bureaucratic formal adoption procedure … which some mothers describe as harrowing and intrusive.”

Apparently, gay parents must justify the extent of their parenting to government officials. The process can take up to 18 months, during which time the same-sex spouse has no rights and the child can end up in legal limbo if the child’s biological parent dies.

Germany has has offered same-sex couples a form of civil unions called “registered life partnerships” since 2003, giving same-sex couples many (but not all) of the same rights as heterosexual married couples.

However, it remains to be seen whether registered life partners will automatically become full-fledge marriages in light of the recent passage of marriage equality, as well as how Germany will sort out adoption details.

What’s going on with same-sex adoption in Israel?

On Thursday, thousands of LGBTQ protestors and allies demonstrated against Israel’s homophobic system of same-sex adoption, which only allows same-sex couples to adopt kids over the age of two, kids with health problems, kids with siblings and those considered “at-risk” after a heterosexual couple cannot be found.

Protestors gathered in Tel Aviv across from the government complex near Azrieli towers. Demonstrators briefly blocked a road and police arrested eight people for disturbances.

Chen Arieli, chairwoman of The Aguda, Israel’s National LGBT Task Force, said to protestors:

“Tell the prime minister, the ministers and Knesset (legislative) members: ‘We are not here just so you can tell the world what an enlightened country we are and so that 30,000 tourists have something to do in June (a reference to the Tel Aviv’s world-famous Pride parade).'”

This week, Israel’s High Court of Justice was supposed to hear a case challenging the current adoption system, but the court gave the government two months to re-assess its policies. The government said it wanted to consult “more professional opinions.”

If the Israeli government does change its current system, it will have to happen through its legislative body (the Knesset).

 

Featured image by pixdeluxe via iStock

  • NORMAN DOSTAL

    Catch up, Germany!