Boeckel and Gessner-Boeckel v. Germany

App. No. 8017/11 (2013)

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Boeckel and Gessner-Boeckel v. Germany

European Court of Human Rights
App. No. 8017/11 (2013)

Facts

Two women, Boeckel and Gessner-Boeckel (plaintiffs) began living together in a registered civil partnership in 2001 in Germany (defendant). Gessner-Boeckel gave birth to a son, and the son’s birth certificate named Gessner-Boeckel as the mother, with the space for the father’s name left blank. Boeckel filed a petition in the district court to adopt the son, and the petition was granted. Boeckel and Gessner-Boeckel moved the district court to amend the son’s birth certificate so that Boeckel’s name would appear as the son’s second parent. The German Civil Code contained a rebuttable presumption that the father of a child was the man who was married to the mother of the child when the child was born, regardless of biological parentage. Boeckel and Gessner-Boeckel argued that a registered civil partnership between two women was analogous to a heterosexual marriage, meaning the registered civil partner of a woman who gave birth should be considered the child’s second parent, regardless of biological parentage. The district court denied the motion. Boeckel and Gessner-Boeckel appealed, and their appeals were denied. The European Convention on Human Rights (the convention), also known as the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, contained a provision, Article 8, that (1) recognized that everyone had the right to respect for his or her family life and (2) prohibited public authorities from interfering with that right unless the interference was in accordance with the law and necessary in a democratic society. Article 14 of the convention provided that the rights protected by the convention, including Article 8 rights, applied without discrimination on any ground, including sex or other status. Boeckel and Gessner-Boeckel applied to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that their rights under Articles 8 and 14 had been violated because the civil code did not treat homosexual registered civil partnerships the same as heterosexual marriages.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning ()

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