Rights Court OKs Iceland’s Denial of Parental Rights in Lesbian Adoption Case

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05/18/2021

STRASBOURG, France (CN) — Iceland wasn’t wrong to deny parental rights to a lesbian couple who had a child via surrogacy, Europe’s top rights court held Tuesday. The European Court of Human Rights found that denying the parental rights of Valdís Fjölnisdóttir and Eydís Agnarsdóttir for a boy born in the United States through a surrogate mother did not violate their right to family life. “The right to respect for ‘family life’ does not safeguard the mere desire to found a family; it presupposes the existence of a family, or at the very least the potential relationship,” the Strasbourg-based court wrote. The ECHR was created in 1959 by the European Convention on Human Rights to safeguard the political and civil rights of Europeans. In 2013, Fjölnisdóttir and Agnarsdóttir traveled to California to pick up a baby boy, identified in court documents as X, who had been born to a surrogate mother. The baby was not biologically related to either woman. The couple traveled to the United States as surrogacy is illegal in Iceland and punished as a criminal offense. When they returned to Iceland, they attempted to register X as their son and as an Icelandic citizen. The government refused to recognize the boy as an Icelandic citizen as he was born to an American woman, and took him into custody as an unaccompanied minor. As a compromise, authorities then placed X in foster care with Fjölnisdóttir and Agnarsdóttir.

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