In a high-profile case before the Celle Higher Regional Court, the Raue law firm and its clients Dr. Gesa C. Teichert-Akkermann and Verena Akkermann today won an important stage win in the fight for the fundamental rights of queer families. The court considers the current law on parentage to be unconstitutional. It has suspended the proceedings and referred the matter to the Federal Constitutional Court for review.
Dr. Gesa C. Teichert-Akkermann and Verena Akkermann are married. Their daughter Paula was born in February 2020. After Paula’s birth, however, both spouses were not entered as parents on the birth certificate – as is the case with other legitimate children – but only Dr. Teichert-Akkermann, who gave birth to Paula. Despite marriage and prenatal co-maternity recognition Verena Akkermann is not yet considered a legal parent. She was also not entered on Paula’s birth certificate. If the entry remains empty, the child is less financially secure, since claims to maintenance, care or inheritance require legal parenthood.
According to the current opinion of the registry offices and the courts, Verena Akkermann would have to adopt her daughter Paula. In doing so, she would be treated like a stranger and would be checked by the youth welfare office and the court for educational, financial and health suitability. The family feels this is degrading and discriminatory. Therefore, in the spring of 2020, they applied to the family court for a declaration that a legal parent-child relationship existed between Paula and her second mother from the beginning.
The Higher Regional Court did not grant this application today. However, it follows the legal argumentation that the current legal situation violates the fundamental rights of the family. Lucy Chebout, lawyer for the Akkermanns, says: “We are delighted that the Higher Regional Court of Celle has recognized the discrimination against Paula and her two mothers. The decision is an important stage win on the way to equal legal rights for rainbow families.”
Today’s decision increases pressure on the legislature to close the existing legal protection gap in the law of parentage. Raue, in cooperation with the Society for Civil Liberties (GFF), will represent the Akkermann family in the further proceedings before the Federal Constitutional Court.
(24 March 2021)