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Strasbourg’s Response to Gay and Lesbian Parenting: Progress, then Plateau?

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This article examines the advancement of parenting rights for gay and lesbian persons as established through the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. It notes that, after many years of progress, this advancement has seemingly now reached a plateau. In particular, although the Court has previously been effective in ending discrimination against single gay and lesbian parents, it has been reluctant to find that discrimination against same-sex couples seeking access to joint parenting rights is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This article examines this plateau and it questions whether consideration of the rights and interests of children could be used to overcome it. It is argued that this consideration may ultimately demand that joint parenting opportunities are made available.

Affiliations: 1: Law Reform Commission of Ireland, Republic of Ireland


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