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Swiss gays recognized as parents of child

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Photo: AFP
21:53 CEST+02:00
In a historic decision for Switzerland, a court in the canton of Saint Gallen has recognized a gay couple as the legal parents of a child born in the United States to a surrogate mother.

Surrogacy is illegal in Switzerland but according to the administrative court ruling the wellfare of the child took precedence in this case, the SDA news agency reported on Monday.

The two “fathers”, originally from Saint Gallen in northeastern Switzerland and living in a Swiss registered partnership, had sought in vain to have a California birth certificate recognized by the registry office in their home canton.

The office refused to register the two men as fathers of the child, a decision which the couple appealed, SDA said.

The US birth certificate states that the men are the parents of the child who was born to a surrogate mother in America, according to the report.

The child was conceived through artificial insemination of a woman in California who agreed to be a surrogate mother, using the sperm of one of the two partners, SDA said.

The American birth certificate was based on a California court decision by which the surrogate mother and her husband abandoned their parental responsibilities for the newborn.

The Saint Gallen cantonal department responsible for births and marriages supported the two men but the Swiss federal justice department appealed the canton’s decision, which brought the case to court.

The court ruling dated August 19th partially recognized one concern of the justice department by requiring the genetic parentage of the child to be registered as part of the birth certificate.

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However, in its decision the court clearly recognizes the two men as fathers.

“The administrative court recognized the judgment from the United States,” Karin Hochl, the lawyer for the gay couple told SDA.

While the decision is a victory for the two men, the justice department can still appeal the ruling to Switzerland’s supreme court.

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