Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Parental rights in France

Yesterday France's Cour de Cassation denied a lesbian mother the opportunity to adopt her nonbiological child. My French is minimal, and I would love to see a decent translation of the rulings in the case. From what I can glean, however, the court hewed closely to France's Civil Code (it is a civil law country after all), which seemed to say that Mother A could not adopt with Mother B surrendering her parental rights. That, obviously, would not be in the best interest of the child, and on that basis the adoption was denied. The only other way both mothers could be full co-parents was for them to marry, currently not an option in France - but apparently a hot issue in the current presidential elections.

To further confuse things, I cannot quite figure out the difference between the above ruling and a ruling by the same court a year ago, which appeared to allow a lesbian bio-mom to delegate substantial parental authority to the nonbiological mother. (This based on what little I can make of the original French, along with a couple of news reports.) What this seems to mean is that a nonbiological co-parent in a pacte civil can take on a substantial parental role, but this is always subject to the (presumably revocable) consent of the natal parent. This sort of parental status is precarious indeed, and as breakup of the parents could destroy it. If you can help clarify matters here, please comment.

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