STUTTGART, Germany, June 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When German IT professional Sarah Kinzebach had her first child, it took six months of lengthy checks for her female partner to be legally recognised as a co-parent. Had her partner been a man, it would have happened automatically.
Germany recognised same-sex relationships in 2001, granting couples greater rights on inheritance, tax and other benefits, and legalised same-sex marriage in 2017 despite stiff opposition from conservative politicians and the Catholic church.
That made it possible for gay people to adopt in Germany, where only married couples are eligible. But same-sex couples who want to have a family still face barriers, both legal and cultural, in a country where conservative social values prevail.
"We had to go through a longwinded six-month stepchild adoption process for Vanessa to also be recognised as the mother," said Kinzebach, 36, recalling visits to the child services department and financial and mental health checks.
As things stand, a married man can be automatically recognised as the father of a child even if he is not the biological parent under the concept of "fiktiver Vaterschaft", or notional paternity.