German gays get more adoption rights

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Berlin -

Germany expanded the adoptive rights of gay parents on Friday, with the upper chamber of parliament passing legislation that allows a gay parent's new partner to become the legal guardian of a previously adopted child.

Homosexual couples in Germany seal their bonds with civil partnerships, not marriages.

Though barred from initiating adoptions, a same-sex partnership can legally take over biological children from one partner's previous heterosexual marriage.

A court ruled last year that this right had to apply to the adopted children of previous marriages as well.

Judges said that leaving the law unchanged would mean adopted children suffered discrimination with respect to their biological siblings, and directed a law change by June 30 this year.

Under a change drafted by Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition government, a new gay partner will be able to apply for the rights of a parent over an adopted child already in the household.

During debate in the Bundesrat upper chamber, some speakers criticised the Merkel government, saying the amendment was the bare minimum required by the court and ought to have been more far-reaching.

France last year allowed gay couples to start adoptions. - Sapa-dpa

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