By Mitch Kellaway
Originally published on Advocate.com September 02 2014 2:28 PM ET
For the first time, an Italian court granted a lesbian woman the right to adopt her partner's biological child, reports the Gazzetta del Sud.
The case revolved around a Rome-based couple who conceived their daughter in an undisclosed European location via artificial insemination. The child is the biological offspring of one partner, and has been happily raised by both her mothers, who were married outside of Italy, for the past five years.
In acknowledging the couple's right to adopt earlier this week, the court drew on a new law which allows for adoptions in specific cases, reports Gay Star News. Noting that the parents had been together for a decade and had provided an emotionally stable upbringing, the court decided adoption was in the child's "best interests."
The ruling is not just a victory for same-sex couples — who do not currently have equal marriage rights in Italy — but for all Italian stepparents, LGBT and not, who had previously been denied the right to legally adopt their stepchildren.
However, same-sex couples seek stepchild adoptions far more often than their heterosexual peers, notes the Gazzetta. With approximately 100,000 Italian children being raised by a gay biological parent, LGBT families feel a strong need for legal protections in situations like as the untimely death of a biological parent, where children could be forced away from their families.