A few months ago, I blogged about Karen Atala -a Chilean judge- being restored in her
parental rights by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Atala had been deprived of her rights to see her three daughters because she was involved in a lesbian relationship. Fortunately so for justice, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights overruled the decisions of several Chilean Court as discriminatory.
Now check out what is on the plate of the European Court of human Rights in the case of X and others vs Austria. Once upon a time in Austria, there was an unmarried heterosexual couple who had a child, a boy. The couple separated, the mother got custody of the kid and the father would have visitation and pay child support. One day however, the mother started a new relationship with a woman.
That’s when problems started. The new couple gets greedy. The “new mother in law” wants to adopt the boy. Obviously, the child is not adoptable, since he has a father. For this to happen, the father has to renounce his parental rights and accept to never see him again. He does not want to. The couple asks the Austrian courts to strip the father from his parental rights, which would clear the way for the adoption of the boy. Austrian courts reject this claim. The couple then brings the case to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that Austrian Courts had denied their rights to private life and have discriminated against them as a lesbian couple. Hearings are to start on October 3rd 2012.
It is not the right of a lesbian couple to adopt a child which is at stake here, it is its right to adopt this child. This couple seems to suffer from a very common disease nowadays: considering a child as a property, or a good rival in consumption, as economists would say: if I enjoy it, I prevent you from doing the same. Folks like these forget something crucial: what is inalienable is the link with each parent and the child and that of the child with each parent, not the property of the child, which does not exist.
May the spirit of Solomon be with the European Court of Human Rights!