Lesbian women not entitled to paternity leave, holds European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights has held that the rejection of a lesbian woman’s application for paternity was not violative of human rights to private and family life, and non-discrimination guaranteed under the ECHR, as the institution of paternity leave was designed to enable the biological father of a child to play a greater role in its upbringing and to ensure a more equal distribution of domestic work between men and women. The Court rejected the challenge by drawing parallels between a non-biological father and the lesbian partner, both of whom would be denied paternity leave. The position of the court is founded on heteropatriachal privileging of bloodlines and lineage, rather than equal parenting and partnership on which egalitarian unions ought to be promoted by human rights law. At an age of IVF, surrogacy, adoption and diverse family forms, the court ought to upheld equal responsibilities of all parents, rather than discriminate between parents (as it has done) based on the manner they assumed parental status.

Hallier and Others v. France (application no. 46386/10)

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