Lesbian Couple excluded from Child Fostering
09.05.2014 | Austria
Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL): „We take this scandalous case to Strasbourg“
The Austrian Administrative Supreme Court has confirmed the ban on child fostering for same-sex couples in the state of Lower Austria. The couple which had been refused to be adopted on the list of potential foster parents would have no right at all to challenge this exclusion from the list. Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL), Austria´s LGBT-rights-association, is outraged that the two women even are refused the right to challenge their discrimination.
What is possible in all the other Austrian states is still prohibited in Lower Austria. Same-sex couples are excluded from the placement of a foster child. Two women, supported by RKL, challenged the ban up to the Austrian high courts.
Miriam Bock und Barbara Huber have been a couple for many years and would like to foster a child, like (also unmarried) opposite-sex couples can do. In
September 2010 they applied to be adopted to the list of potential foster parents.
Social Educator & Children´s Nurse Employed by Lower Austria´s Government
Their application has been rejected on the basis that they cannot conceive a child together and therefore they would be unable to build up a parent-like relation to a child.
Thus Miriam Bock und Barbara Huber solely on the basis of their gender and their sexual oriention have been excluded from the possibility to foster a child, no matter how good or bad they could raise a child. Their ability to do so well may not be examined as they are screened out right away for being a same-sex couple. Though no one seems more suitable to foster children than these two women. Both of them are employed by the government of Lower Austria, one as a social educator in child welfare and the other as a children´s nurse. Both women care for children in institutions of the same state which excludes them from fostering children …
Government: „Father is the first man in the life of a woman“
Nevertheless the government of Lower Austria rejected their appeal on the basis that they would have no right to challenge their exclusion.
Before the Constitutional Court and the Administrative Supreme Court the state government even argued that “daughters to a large extent derive their self-perception from their father”, he would be “the first man in their life, who makes them feel important or unimportant” …
The Constitutional Court refused to deal with the case (VfGH 22.11.2012, B 1038/11, B 1187/11) and in disregard of the European Court of Human Rights stepparent-adoption-judgment (X et al. v Austria 2013) and the opening up of stepparent-adoption for same-sex couples in Austria, and in disregard of the Constitutional Court´s invalidation of the donor insemination ban for lesbian couples (VfGH 10.12.2013, G 16/13, 44/13) the Administrative Supreme Court has confirmed the state government´s decision (VwGH 02.04.2014, 2011/11/0173).
„We are outraged. The two women have not just been discriminated against but they have even been denied their right to challenge this discrimination“, say Dr. Helmut Graupner, president of RKL and counsel of the couple, „But the fight is not over. We will take also this case to Strasbourg“.