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Court overturns ruling keeping same-sex couple from adopting child

The Tartu circuit court overturned a first-tier court ruling on Monday that rejected the application of a homosexual couple to adopt a child. The two women live in a registered partnership and have raised the child as a family. They applied with the Tartu county court to adopt the child, but their application was rejected.

According to the Estonian Human Rights Centre, the couple's application was supported by a positive family assessment on the part of the Social Insurance Board. The assessment confirmed that the family is able to provide everything necessary for the child's life and development.

The Tartu circuit court satisfied the couple's complaint on Monday and overturned the previous ruling. In the justification of its own decision, the circuit court pointed out that the county court's ruling was largely unjustified and included references to legal norms that were presented without analysis, and with that went against the requirement courts need to meet to explain their decisions.

The circuit court also stated that the designations of "mother" and "father" don't have any legal weight, and that how the members of a family refer to each other cannot be legally decided as it belongs into the principle of the inviolability of family and private life.

The court also stressed that any adoption has to be decided based on the child's best interest, which means that every individual case needs to be assessed independently, and attention needs to be paid to the family, the individual characters in the family, their abilities, and their wish to be a parent.

According to head of the Estonian Human Rights Centre, Kari Käsper, this basically unnecessary case illustrates very well why the implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act are necessary, and how the Riigikogu's delay in adopting them provokes situations in which legal rules are replaced by prejudice.

Although the Registered Partnership Act entered into force on Jan. 1, 2016, its implementing provisions are stuck in parliament for political reasons.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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