A French court has ruled that a woman may not adopt a child her partner conceived using fertility treatment abroad. The decision has sparked outrage from equal rights activists.
Despite same-sex marriage being made legal in France last year, it remains against the law for same-sex couples to receive assisted conception. The women, who are now married, had travelled to Belgium where one of them conceived and later gave birth to their son, now four years old.
In November 2013, the couple began legal proceedings to enable the biological mother's partner to adopt the child. However, on 2 May a Versailles court rejected the request on the grounds that the couple had violated France's assisted conception laws. IVF treatment is only available to heterosexual couples.
The court said that its decision was 'banning the adoption of an illegally conceived child'. Same-sex couples may, however, adopt children they have not conceived using medical help.
French gay rights groups have criticised the court ruling. ADFH, a group for homosexual parents, said that the Versailles court had failed to protect the rights of the child, according to the BBC.
Inter-LGBT chose stronger language, claiming in a statement that 'the children of homosexual parents are the new bastards of the Republic'.
Another group for gay and lesbian parents, Enfants D'arc-en-ciel (Rainbow children) put out a statement soon after the ruling which said: 'There will be other cases. The opening of marriage and adoption [to same-sex couples] was supposed to protect our families'.
The couple's lawyer, Caroline Mecary, told French broadcaster RFI that she would be appealing the decision and would be taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. RFI also reported that this was the second time that the couple had been told they may not adopt the other's child.
Its most recent verdict, Mecary told RFI, 'is in complete violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on Human Rights'.
She said that other courts had allowed similar adoptions due to France's changed laws for homosexuals. 'Many courts have already allowed the adoption of the spouse's child in similar cases. The analysis made by the court of Versailles is extremely restrictive and also quite questionable under the French law', she added.
As France passed changes to its marriage laws, President Francois Holland's left wing government was faced with huge protests from its opponents. This meant, RFI said, that initial attempts to include legalising assisted conception for same-sex couples were left on ice.