A Versailles Court has ruled that a married French woman cannot adopt the child she and her partner had conceived by IVF treatment carried out abroad.
The judge says the couple, who has not been named in the media, ‘defrauded’ French law by going to neighboring Belgium for the procedure, according to The Guardian.
The BBC noted that although under French law, the procedure is not explicitly open to lesbian couples; the judge has ruled that the law had been violated.
In November, the biological mother’s partner applied to the family court for the right to adopt the boy so he would have two legal parents. The court refused the request and said it was ‘banning the adoption of an illegally conceived child.’
Although same-sex marriage and adoption were legalized by France’s Socialist government a year ago, IVF is only legal for heterosexual couples while surrogacy is illegal for all in France.
Equal rights groups have criticised the decision, saying it goes against rulings in previous cases and is discriminatory.
Association Des Familles Homoparentales (ADFH), a group representing gay parents, said in a statement that French law had failed to protect the rights of the child.
A lesbian rights activist, Nathalie Allain-Djerrah of Enfants d’Arc-en-ciel (Rainbow Children), said the ruling ‘shows in a blatant and violent way how inequality persists between the children of homosexual parents and those of heterosexual parents.’
The couple’s lawyer, Caroline Mecary, says they would appeal against the ruling, as around 20 same-sex couples have been allowed to adopt in similar situations.
A proposed family law that would have opened a debate on IVF for same-sex couples was dropped by President François Hollande earlier this year after vigorous opposition from ‘pro-family’ campaigners.