Germany: Gay couples receive limited adoption rights

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The German Parliament has ruled that same-sex couples in civil unions can legally adopt a partner’s child.

On Thursday evening the Bundestag voted in favour of the measure, but campaigners warned it did not go far enough.

The decision follows a landmark ruling by the German Constitutional Court in February last year, in which it granted those living in civil partnerships the same legal rights as married couples when it came to adopting the biological children from one partner.

However, the ruling only meant that same-sex couples could adopt the same child on an individual basis and not as a couple and they still cannot adopt unrelated children.

The Local Justice Secretary, Christian Lange, of the Social Democrats, called yesterday’s parliamentary vote a “direct implementation” of the Constitutional court law ruling.

Both the Green Party and the far-left party, Die Linke, criticised the legislation and called for complete adoption equality.

Germany’s Constitutional Court called for the tax system to treat civil partnerships equally with marriages in May 2013 – a demand which Chancellor Angela Merkel had previously resisted.