On 10th October 2017, Michael and Kai Korok became the first gay couple to legally adopt a child in Germany, just nine days after same-sex marriage became legal.
The couple got married on October 2nd, the day after same-sex marriage became legal in Germany. As part of the legalisation of same-sex marriage, gay couples were also given identical adoption rights and marital rights as their heterosexual equivalents.
The Koroks had been foster parents to their son since his birth and applied to officially adopt him after their marriage. Their application was approved by a court in Berlin’s Kreutzer district with Michael Korok hailing the introduction of identical adoption rights as heterosexual couples as a ‘huge win’ for same-sex couples in Germany.
Introduction of identical adoption rights
Germany has been notably behind its European counterparts in the fight to recognise the right to marriage of same-same couples – the legalisation of same-sex marriage occurred in France in 2013 and the United Kingdom in 2014.
In July 2017, a bill for the legalisation of same-sex marriage passed in the Bundesrat after a change in position by Chancellor Angela Markel. The catalyst for same-sex marriage arose from Merkel’s call for conservative MPs to vote in accordance with their conscience after she met a loving same-sex couple who had cared for eight foster children in her constituency of Stralsund – Nordvorpommern – Rügen.
When the bill was signed into law Germany became the 14th European country and 23rd worldwide to legalise same-sex marriage. Whilst Merkel voted against the bill, she is believed to fully support the introduction of adoption rights for same-sex couples claiming this would bring about ‘social cohesion and peace’.
After the legalisation of same-sex marriages, Constanze Körner from Lesben-und Schwulenverband (LSVD), an LGBT rights group in Germany commented that the introduction of adoption rights has significantly addressed the imbalance of power between various family structures. The LSVD asserted this was instrumental proof that “‘marriage for all’ is not just symbolic.”