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ADDED ON: 05/09/2021

Lesbian mothers flood German courts with demands for parenting rights

5/6/21 | Openly News

When Inga celebrated the birth of her first child with her wife Jenny, the last thing she expected in her bid to be recognised as the baby’s second mother was a criminal record check – so she went to court to change the law. In Germany, only the biological mother is legally recognised as a parent and her female partner must go through a formal adoption process to become the child’s second parent, even if they are married. The process can take years. “They asked me for a medical certificate, an HIV test, my criminal records, a self-written report of my life and photos of me with the child, among other things,” Inga, 38, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “There is no information available about how these things are assessed: how healthy do I have to be in order to be allowed to be a parent? How much do I have to smile in the pictures? Or how much money should I earn?” Inga and Jenny are among more than a dozen lesbian couples who have gone to court since August seeking to reform Germany’s civil code, which does not recognise lesbian parents, forcing the second woman to apply to adopt her own child. Cases are being heard in family courts around the country, with two cases heading for the federal constitutional court – where a ruling in favour of the women could force the government to change the law. Inga was traumatised by the nine-month wait to be recognised as the mother of her son, born in 2018. She had to take him to hospital multiple times when he fell seriously ill, as Jenny had returned to work, but she had no legal parenting rights. “I was not allowed to take any decisions regarding his health,” said Inga, who declined to give her full name as the case involving her parental rights over her second child, filed in December, is ongoing. “They would not consider me his mother legally.”

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