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Court ruling: Germany strengthens gay adoption rights

Germany's highest court on Tuesday strengthened the rights of same-sex couples to adopt, though stopped short of allowing gay and lesbian civil partnerships unlimited freedom to become adoptive parents.

The Constitutional Court ruled as expected that one member of a civil partnership must be given the right to adopt their partner's stepchild or adopted child. Until now, unlike heterosexual married couples, they were only able to adopt a partner's biological child.

The court ordered Berlin to draft new legislation by next June. It said the German constitution does not justify ruling out one partner adopting the other's adopted child. The previous law was not only detrimental to the child, it also breached the rights of same-sex couples to equal treatment, said presiding judge Ferdinand Kirchhof. "Same-sex partnerships can be as beneficial to the happiness of a child as a marriage," he said.

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