The European Court of Human Rights ruled Jan 22 that France illegally discriminated against a single lesbian when its institutions repeatedly denied her request to adopt a child in 1998. According to the Court, the country violated the European Convention on Human Rights, to which it is a signatory, by failing to treat the woman the same way it would a heterosexual single parent.
A judgment from the Court says France must allow the 45-year-old nursery school teacher to adopt, and pay her nearly $35,000 in damages and legal costs. “Emmanuelle B.,” as the plaintiff is identified, lives with her female partner of almost 20 years.
Gay and lesbian advocates across the 47 nations in the Council of Europe welcomed the ruling, which will advance the rights of LGBT individuals, but only in countries where unmarried singles are allowed to adopt. In such countries, unwed gay and straight applicants must now be treated in the same manner.