Austrian lesbian couple win European adoption ruling

STRASBOURG Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:20am EST

File photo of people carrying a rainbow flag march during the ninth annual Gay and Lesbian Pride parade in a main avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 29, 2005. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

File photo of people carrying a rainbow flag march during the ninth annual Gay and Lesbian Pride parade in a main avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 29, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - A lesbian couple who want to jointly raise one partner's child have won their case at the European Court for Human Rights, which ruled that Austria's adoption laws discriminated against gay people on that issue.

The case was brought in 2007 by the unnamed women, both born in 1967. They live with one partner's son, who was born out of wedlock in 1995.

The couple had lost a legal battle in Austria that sought to challenge the fact that an unmarried man or woman in a heterosexual relationship could adopt and jointly raise their partner's child, while that right was not extended to gay couples.

The European court found that the difference in treatment was based on sexual orientation. "No convincing reasons had been advanced to show that such difference in treatment was necessary for the protection of the family or for the protection of the interests of the child," it said in a statement.

The ruling is final, so Austria must comply with it. The court also ordered the country to pay the applicants 10,000 euros ($13,400) in damages and more than 28,000 euros in costs and expenses.

($1 = 0.7490 euros)

(Reporting by Michael Shields and Thomas Calinon; Editing by Pravin Char)