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Lesbian parents forced to accept rights of father

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Lesbian parents forced to accept rights of father
File photo: David Goehring
17:51 CEST+02:00
A lesbian couple in the western city of Nantes were angered this week after a French court made a controversial decision to recognise the parental rights of their child's biological father, who when he donated his sperm had promised to waive all rights to the child.

Just as the dust was settling in France after the row over the legalisation of gay marriage and adoption, a French court made a decision this week that will once again shake up the debate around same-sex parenthood.

On Monday a judge granted a biological father, parental rights to his child, after he had initially promised to the mother, his "best friend", that he would donate his sperm and waive all his rights as a dad.

Until this week, the two-year-old had been exclusively entrusted to the care of its mother and her lesbian partner.

Speaking after the ruling, Anne Bouillon, the lawyer for the biological mother told TF1 television that her client and her partner were upset by the judge's decision.

“The family is me and my partner. We didn’t expect this man to come and demand his rights,” Bouillon quoted the mother as saying. “It’s upset our family.”

“A man did my client and her partner a favour. However he then changed his mind and wanted to take on the role of father. But the initial parental project was between two women," the lawyer said.

The judge's decision means the father will be granted visitors rights before an eventual move towards what is referred to in France as a "classic" agreement, which would see the child live with the mother but spend every other weekend with the father.

However the mother's lawyer added that her client had not asked the judge to deny the father his rights to his two-year-old child, who born in the south-central town of Orléans.

The father’s lawyer Magali Castelli-Maurice described it as an "artisanal conception" where the best friend of the couple was asked to donate his sperm".

His lawyer said a judge in Orléans had already approved the father’s visitation and hosting rights in January but then the two women upped sticks and moved to Nantes, western France, meaning he could longer access the child.

"The demand to have his rights recognized is completely normal, the only distinction we have a homosexual couple who refused to acknowledge the presence of the father," the lawyer said.

Although gay parents can now adopt in France, "medically assisted procreation" (PMA) as it is known was dropped from the gay marriage bill. The government are currently working on a draft bill.

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