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French Court OKs Adoption by Lesbian Partners

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A French court has authorised four lesbian women to adopt children born to their wives abroad through artificial insemination.

While France has legalised gay marriage and adoption, only heterosexual couples are allowed to have medically assisted fertilisation. Supporters of gay rights praised Thursday’s ruling, which allows these children to have two legal parents.

The Versailles appeals court overturned a ruling delivered by a lower court a year ago, according to the lawyer for one of the four couples.

In April 2014, a lower court in Versailles had said the birth mother in that case had committed fraud by having artificial insemination in Belgium. It was then the first court ruling against adoption by a lesbian couple since the gay marriage law had been enacted in May 2013. Several other ones had followed since then.

France’s highest court later ruled that seeking fertilisation abroad is “not an obstacle” to allowing lesbian women to adopt the children of their partners, even if this way of having babies is forbidden to lesbian couples in France.

Lawyer Caroline Mecary said her clients had been living together for more than a dozen years when they decided to have a baby. As they were not allowed to have assisted reproduction in France, they went to Belgium where one of them had an artificial insemination from an unknown donor.

The baby girl was born in 2005, and when the gay marriage law was voted in 2013, they quickly got married and then asked a lower court in Versailles, near where they live, to grant adoption to the wife of the biological mother. Under the new law, adoptions by gay couples are only allowed when the same-sex partners are married.

On Tuesday, the appeals court in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence issued a similar ruling in favour of a lesbian couple who had gone abroad to have a baby.

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