Denmark: Major improvement for lesbian couples with children

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By Søren Laursen, LBL – the Danish National LGBT-organisation

This summer has seen a significant improvement for rainbow families consisting of lesbian couples with children conceived by means of assisted fertilisation using anonymous sperm donation.

As of July 1, 2009 two rules concerning second parent adoption have been abolished. One rule said, that the adoptee, i.e. the co-mother, should be at least 25 years old. The other rule said, that approval to the adoption by the biological parent could not be given before three months after the birth of the child.

The consequence of the first rule was, that a number of mothers were living for years without legal recognition of their parenthood. The consequence of the second rule was, that co-mothers could not be recognized as legal parents immediately, thus depriving them the right to parental leave after the birth.

The changes were part of a major revision of the Adoption Act. LBL wished for a more thorough revision of the legal situation of this kind of families. We want the kinship of all children to be regulated in the same way. Today these children of lesbian couples have their kinship regulated in the Adoption Act, whereas for all other children, it is regulated in the Children’s Act.

In spite of the knowledge of the problem, the government did not want to solve the problem of citizenship of the child. Citizenship is inherited in the Children’s Act but not in the Adoption Act. Thus, if a foreign woman give birth to a child in Denmark, then if her partner is a Danish man, the child gets Danish citizenship, but if it is a Danish woman, that is not the case.

Nevertheless the abolishing of the two rules is a major step forward.