The ruling came about after a Berlin couple had a son born via the use of a Californian surrogate mom and wanted to both be recognised as the child’s parents
In a judgment that will provide legal recognition to some of Germany’s gay parents, a ruling by the Bundesgerichtshof (the German Federal Court of Justice) has decreed that the male partner of any man with a surrogate child may also be regarded as the child’s parent.
Surrogacy is currently illegal in Germany. However, an increasing number of gay couples are exploring surrogacy as a route to parenthood, typically using surrogate moms abroad.
However, until now, only the biological father of any children born was recognized as the parent.
The current ruling came about when a case was raised by a gay couple from Berlin. They had a son born through the use of a surrogate mom in California in 2010.
In the US, the Californian Superior Court formally declared both men as the child’s legal parents. However, they were not afforded the same recognition when they returned home to Germany.
The German high court issued its ruling on the Friday before Christmas (19 December). It effectively ruled that, in the interest of the ‘child’s welfare’ and consistency of care, the foreign authority’s decision in the matter must be respected.
The decision will have an impact on both same-sex and opposite-sex couples in Germany, but particularly for gay couples, who continue to lobby for joint adoption rights in the country.
The full German-language ruling can be read here.