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Lesbians barred from adopting partners' children

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15:23 CET+01:00
They are married to the biological mothers, but a court in Sweden has refused to allow two lesbian women to adopt the children they consider to be theirs.

The case concerns two women whose partners were inseminated in Denmark, where sperm donors are guaranteed anonymity. Both women applied for adoption in Sweden.

But a Swedish district court has rejected their application, saying that according to Swedish law all children have the right to find out who their biological parents are.

"I can't understand how they are thinking," one of the mothers told The Local.

Previous applications by lesbian women to adopt their partners' biological children have been approved by Swedish courts. The women in the current case have already been approved as suitable parents by social services.

But the court rejected their applications, saying that the couples had been attempting to get the rights open to them under Swedish law, while bypassing Sweden's insistence on identifying biological parents.

"It is not acceptable to use the institution of adoption in this way to circumvent such a basic right of the child. The benefits that the child might gain from the adoption still do not warrant its approval," judge Mats Orstadius wrote in both rulings.

The judgment was greeted with incredulity by the couples. Cecilia, who wants to adopt the daughter of her registered partner, said she was "first shocked, then angry, then sad," about the decision.

As for the court's reasoning that the child should be able to find out who her father is, she replied:

"There is no father, only a donor. That's why I'm trying to adopt.

"The court should think of what's best for the child. And what's best for the child is to have two parents."

Dr. Anna Singer, an expert in family law at Uppsala University, was also baffled by the ruling.

"It feels like the court is somehow trying to punish the women because they did something that is contrary to the interests of the child. But it is doing this in a way that is also contrary to the interests of the child," she told The Local.

"Swedish law says that adoptions should be decided solely in the interests of the child.

"In these cases, who would be better parents than these two women? Certainly not the fathers - it is in any case not possible to find out who they are," she said.

Cecilia told The Local that she is talking to her lawyer and plans to appeal the ruling.

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