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Litigation: Unmarried lesbian wins parental rights

A court has ruled that a lesbian whose artificially fertilized egg cells were transplanted into her partner should also be considered their twins’ legal parent. The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) declared section 40 of the Children’s Act unconstitutional. If it had not ruled in her favour, the 44-year-old Germiston woman would have had to adopt her biological children because she and her partner were not married, their lawyer, Adele van der Walt, reportedly told Rapport. City Press reports that the woman and her 30-year-old partner, who also has a young son have been in a permanent relationship since 2019. Their legal team said in court documents that ‘it is very difficult to see the purpose of the legal stipulation and how it contributes to an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom’. The lawyers argued that the distinction between married and unmarried people amounted to unfair discrimination against the woman based on her sexual orientation and her marital status: ‘By excluding lesbians from being automatically considered parents of their own children, harmful stereotypes of gays and lesbians continue,’ they said.

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