The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] last week ruled [decision, PDF, in French] that the right of a person in a same-sex partnership to adopt his or her partner's child is not protected by the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. The case involved a French woman who was denied her request to adopt her civil partner's child, who was conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF). She argued the adoption denial violated articles 8 and 14 of the Convention on Human Rights, which protect against invasion of family privacy and discrimination, respectively. In its decision, the court found that the denial did not discriminate against same-sex couples, because opposite sex couples in civil partnerships are equally denied a right to adoption. The court reiterated that the European Convention on Human Rights does not require its members to legalize same-sex marriage.
The rights of same-sex couples have been an ongoing issue in France and across Europe. Last June, the French National Assembly [official website, in French] voted to reject a bill seeking to legalize same-sex marriage [JURIST report]. In January, France's Constitutional Council [official website, in French] ruled that the country's same-sex marriage ban [French Civil Code text] does not violate the constitution [text]. Same-sex marriage is recognized in several European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Iceland and Norway [JURIST reports], while several other countries, including the UK, France and Germany, recognize civil unions between same-sex partners. Same-sex marriage has also been recognized nationwide in Canada and South Africa, and in jurisdictions in Mexico and the US [JURIST reports].