Some together in Brussels

… for the THE LEGAL BIRTH OF NELFA aibsl :)

THE LEGAL BIRTH OF NELFA aibsl
EUROPEAN NETWORK OF LGBT FAMILIES ASSOCIATIONS

Brussels, March 2012

NELFA – the Network of European LGBT Families Associations – will incorporate under Belgian law as an international non-profit association (AISBL) on March 12th, 2012.  Official NELFA headquarters will be located in the Rainbow House in Brussels.

Twelve NELFA founding members from Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland will take a major step towards further consolidating NELFA’s work on behalf of LGBT families in Europe.

With 22 associations representing 14 European countries and thousands of LGBT families, NELFA works to ensure that children of LGBT families in Europe are granted the same rights as children from other families. NELFA encourages European countries to adopt legal systems and equal opportunity policies that do not discriminate against LGBT families, be it legally, financially, educationally or socially

NELFA also works to ensure the freedom of movement of LGBT families within the European Union without their family life being compromised by entering or settling in another Member State.

NELFA promotes the exchange of information between its members and assists in creating and in developing LGBT families associations in Europe.

2nd European Meeting of LGBT Families – CATALONIA 2012

From April 28th to May 1st, 2012, NELFA is hosting the 2nd European Meeting for LGBT Families, in Lloret del Mar, Catalonia, Spain, in collaboration with the Catalan LGBT families association, FLG.

The event will bring 800 participants from all over Europe together. The meeting is being supported, among others, by the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Government of Catalonia, and the Municipality of Figures.

For more information on NELFA and CATALONIA 2012, join our Lunch Reception on Monday, March 12th, 2012, between 13h15 and 14h30, at the Rainbow House, rue du Marché au Charbon, 42, 1000 Brussels (http://g.co/maps/4edpy).

More information on the web:
NELFA: www.nelfa.org
NELFA FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NELFA/202256119452
CATALONIA 2012: http://www.familieslgtb2012.org
TRAILER “RIGHT TO LOVE”: http://vimeo.com/29720188
VIDEO “LEGAL JUNGLE: SAME-SEX FAMILIES TRAPPED BETWEEN EU COUNTRIES”: http://vimeo.com/23847001

much more here

Suisse: Le Conseil des Etats accepte l’adoption des couples homosexuels

Par 21 voix contre 19, le Conseil des Etats a accordé mercredi le droit aux couples homosexuels d’adopter. Le Conseil National doit encore se prononcer.

 

La Suisse devrait ouvrir l’adoption aux couples homosexuels. Par 21 voix contre 19, le Conseil des Etatsa accepté mercredi cette revendication des organisations gaies et lesbiennes, faisant fi des réticences du gouvernement et des milieux conservateurs. Le National doit encore se prononcer.

La Chambre des cantons a adopté une motion de sa commission des affaires juridiques, qui reprend les exigences d’une pétition des organisations homosexuelles. Le texte demande que toute personne adulte, quel que soit son état civil ou son mode de vie, puisse adopter un enfant, en particulier celui de sa ou de son partenaire.

Seule condition: l’adoption doit constituer la meilleure solution pour le bien-être de l’enfant. Tous les orateurs ont d’ailleurs eu le «bien de l’enfant» à la bouche, même si sur le fond, les avis divergent à 180 degrés, au gré notamment des croyances religieuses.

La loi sur le partenariat enregistré, acceptée par le peuple en 2005, interdit aux couples homosexuels d’adopter. Pourtant, un gay ou une lesbienne célibataire conserve, en théorie du moins, ce droit, a rappelé Claude Janiak (PS/BL) au nom de la commission.

Une réalité

De plus en plus d’enfants, souvent issus d’une première relation hétérosexuelle, sont élevés par des couples de même sexe. On estime qu’ils sont entre 6000 et 20’000 en Suisse, même si les statistiques font défaut, selon Anne Seydoux (PDC/JU).

Que l’on approuve ou non, les familles «arc-en-ciel» sont une réalité et il faut veiller à assurer la protection des enfants qui y vivent, a estimé Markus Stadler (PVL/UR). Leur situation peut devenir dramatique en cas de décès du parent biologique.

Pour Raphaël Comte (PLR/NE), la question est certes sensible et émotionnelle, mais la politique doit mettre un terme à l’arbitraire actuel. Le droit à l’adoption ne doit pas être fonction du célibat ou du partenariat enregistré d’une personne, mais de l’intérêt de l’enfant.

Morale chrétienne

Plusieurs orateurs démocrate-chrétiens se sont élevés contre cette vision. Le peuple n’a soutenu la loi sur le partenariat enregistré que parce qu’elle interdit l’adoption et la procréation médicalement assistée, a martelé Brigitte Häberli (PDC/TG). «Il ne s’agit pas d’une discrimination, mais d’une inégalité de traitement voulue», selon elle.

Jean-René Fournier (PDC/VS) a fustigé la tactique du salami. «On n’a pas à aller dans l’air du temps pour satisfaire les attentes égocentriques de personnes» qui ont assuré, lors du vote sur le PACS, que jamais elles ne demanderaient le droit à l’adoption, a-t- il lancé.

Chacun a le droit d’être heureux comme il l’entend, mais cela ne veut pas dire que l’on doive placer le mariage et le partenariat enregistré sur un pied d’égalité, a renchéri Urs Schwaller (PDC/FR).

Gouvernement mitigé

La ministre de la justice Simonetta Sommaruga a marché sur des oeufs en présentant la position du gouvernement. Celui-ci est opposé à une ouverture totale du droit à l’adoption pour les couples homosexuels, mais est disposé à faire un geste concernant les enfants nés d’une relation antérieure ou précédemment adoptés par une personne seule.

Il y a des incohérences dans le droit, a admis la conseillère fédérale. Une personne seule peut adopter un enfant, alors que la même personne en est empêchée si elle a conclu un partenariat enregistré.

Menaces de référendum

Pour que le gouvernement légifère, le National doit encore transmettre la motion. Dans sa composition d’avant les élections d’octobre, il n’avait rien voulu savoir de la revendication des organisations gaies et lesbiennes. Par 97 voix contre 83, il avait alors refusé de donner suite à la pétition.

Les premières menaces tombent déjà. L’Union démocratique fédérale a brandi l’arme du référendum contre une décision jugée «inadmissible et bafouant les intérêts de l’enfant». Neuf pays européens reconnaissant le droit à l’adoption, tels l’Espagne, les Pays-Bas ou la Norvège.

(http://www.tdg.ch/suisse/Le-Conseil-des-Etats-accepte-l-adoption-des-couples-homosexuels-/story/19785320)

French gay couple lose adoption appeal at European Court

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against a lesbian couple from France who were seeking to jointly adopt a child one of them had conceived.

Valérie Gas and Nathalie Dubois had a child through artificial insemination in Belgium but the law in their native France forbids unmarried couples from jointly adopting a child.

Mme Dubois will continue to be recognised as the girl’s biological mother but her partner will not as the Court ruled that this law applies equally to gay and straight couples.

France’s Civil Solidarity Pacts, or PACS as they are usually known, confer some domestic partnership rights, but fewer than a marriage would.

Crucially in the case decided last week, the system is open to both gay and straight couples who are equally barred from adoption while in a PACS.

Though a straight couple in France can marry if they choose and thus become eligible for adoption whereas a gay couple cannot, the Court ruled that there was no right to a gay marriage.

Mme Dubois and Mme Gas’ daughter was born in 2000. The French courts accepted that they were bringing her up jointly but ruled that the only way Mme Gas could adopt the girl would be for Mme Dubois to relinquish all her parental rights, as joint parenting was only permitted by a husband and wife.

The European Court of Human Rights found that this rule would be applied in the same way to a straight couple in the gay couple’s situation so did not amount to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The couple maintained that their rights under Articles 14 (prohibition of discrimination) and 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights were being infringed by the law.

The applicants argued that since a straight couple in their situation could circumvent the bar to adoption by marrying, they were being discriminated against.

But a chamber of seven judges upheld the European Court of Human Rights’ earlier view that gay couples do not yet have the right to access marriage equally.

It referred back to a 2010 case, Schalk and Kopf v. Austria, in which it affirmed that governments were not obliged to offer gay couples equal rights to marriage.

However, as Professor Robert Wintemute explained to PinkNews.co.uk last year when discussing the Equal Love campaign’s legal challenge of the UK’s ban on gay marriages, the court had expressed in an opinion in that case that the article governing the right to marriage may not always be interpreted as referring only to straight couples.

He said: “Although the court ruled that Article 12 of the Convention did not yet impose an obligation on European governments to allow same-sex couples to marry, the court changed its interpretation of Article 12, saying that it ‘would no longer consider that the right to marry enshrined in Article 12 must in all circumstances be limited to marriage between two persons of the opposite sex’.

“When more Council of Europe countries than the current seven (out of 47) allow same-sex couples to marry, the court will be willing to consider ordering all of them to do so. The number of European countries that allow same-sex marriage increased from three in 2005 to seven in 2010, and could double again while this case is pending.”

Since the Equal Love campaign’s legal challenge to lift the ban on gay marriages and straight civil partnerships was launched, the government has unveiled proposals to allow gay couples to marry. A public consultation began last week into how to introduce equal marriage rights, but the government does not yet plan to allow straight couples to access civil partnerships.

in pinknews: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/03/19/french-gay-couple-lose-adoption-appeal-at-echr/

Suisse: Adoption par les homosexuels de l’enfant de leur partenaire

Berne, 22.02.2012 – Le Conseil fédéral juge bon, dans l’intérêt de l’enfant, de permettre aux membres d’un couple homosexuel d’adopter l’enfant de leur partenaire. Il refuse en revanche de leur ouvrir l’adoption sans restriction. C’est la réponse, publiée mercredi, qu’il a donnée à la motion de la Commission des affaires juridiques du Conseil des Etats « Droit de l’adoption. Mêmes chances pour toutes les familles ».

Le Conseil fédéral comprend le souci des couples homosexuels que les enfants nés d’une relation antérieure ou précédemment adoptés par une personne seule puissent être adoptés par le partenaire enregistré de leur mère ou de leur père. Aujourd’hui déjà, de nombreux enfants grandissent dans pareilles familles, mais ils ne bénéficient pas des mêmes droits que les enfants nés de couples mariés. Ouvrir cette adoption aux partenaires enregistrés mettra tous les enfants sur un pied d’égalité.

Le Conseil fédéral est en revanche opposé à l’ouverture de l’adoption sans restriction aux couples de même sexe. Il rappelle dans sa réponse que le référendum a été demandé, sans succès, contre la loi sur le partenariat enregistré entre les personnes du même sexe entrée en vigueur le 1er janvier 2007. Il est convaincu que la loi a été bien acceptée en Suisse parce qu’elle a supprimé la discrimination des personnes homosexuelles sans pour autant ouvrir aux partenaires enregistrés la voie de l’adoption et de la procréation médicalement assistée.

Growing Interest in Surrogacy Among European Gay Men Brings the Men Having Babies Seminar and Expo to Spain this April

“Men Having Babies” – a annual Surrogacy Seminar and Expo in NY since 2005 – makes a debut in Europe on April 29, 2012 – Part of four-day LGBT families gathering near Barcelona, Spain.

(PRWEB) January 30, 2012

The Network of European LGBT Family Associations (NELFA ) will host the first “Men Having Babies – Europe ” Surrogacy Seminar and Gay Parenting Expo on April 29, 2012. It will take place in Lloret de Mar, near Barcelona, Spain, as part of a 4-day conference and family gathering expected to attract hundreds of LGBT parents and parents-to-be. More than a dozen leading USA and European clinics and surrogacy agencies already signed up as sponsors and exhibitors, recognizing the growing interest in surrogacy in Europe.

The full day elaborate seminar and exhibit will offer a comprehensive “how-to” program for gay men who want to become parents. Among the speakers will be experts in the medical, psychological, legal and practical aspects of the surrogacy process, along with a surrogate mother and gay surrogacy parents. Prospective parents and LGBT family activists will also have opportunities to learn about service providers at the Gay Parenting Services Exhibit before and after the seminar. In addition, eight leading agencies and clinics from the United States and Europe will offer hour-long presentations on Sunday and Monday afternoon. Among the topics are ethical surrogacy practices, international surrogacy laws, know vs. anonymous egg donations, and speaking to surrogacy kids about their origin. While prospective parents are encouraged to join the hundreds of families attending the gathering for its full length, a one-day attendance including meals is offered for a small fee (€25).

“We highly recommend that prospective parents join us for the full four day gathering,” said Elisabeth Vendrell, president of FLG, the hosting LGBT Families organization in Catalonia. “If you are either prospective parents or already have children, the LGBT Families gathering can be a terrific opportunity to meet hundreds of parents and parents-to-be from more than a dozen countries.” The organizers expect about 800 participants (having already received more than 400 bookings), and the group will take over a hotel in the resort town of Lloret de Mar, to enjoy a combination of social, educational and fun activities, including sightseeing excursions in Barcelona and elsewhere. “Thanks to the generous support of government and private sponsors this all-inclusive program is also very affordable,” said Ms. Vendrell, “a typical family of four will only spend about €300 including all meals and excursions.”

The parenting seminar and expo is offered based on a similar program  that has been running in NY for the last seven years. “In recent years we have witnessed a growing interest in surrogacy among European gay men,” said Ron Poole-Dayan, the coordinator of the Men Having Babies network that organizes the NY program. “We were happy to assist our European friends to assemble a program that is in fact more comprehensive than the one we have been offering in NY,” he said.

Around the continent there are dramatic social changes with advances in LGBT rights, visibility and social acceptance, and a growing desire to become parents. Leading and benefiting from these trends are the LGBT family associations around the continent, many of whom established in the last few years. The umbrella organization, NELFA, grew from 7 members in 2009 to 20 today. In the first European wide conference in Paris over 500 people participated, and the event enjoyed unprecedented attention from public figures and the media.

> For more information and to register to the Men Having Babies seminar go to:http://www.MenHavingBabies.org/europe

> For more information and registration for the Second European LGBT Families Gathering in Catalonia go to:http://www.MenHavingBabies.org/catalonia2012

About the Network of European LGBT Families Organizations (NELFA)

The Network of European LGBT Families Associations (NELFA) was created in 2009 to bring together the associations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents and their children from European nations under one organization. While strong organizations in places like the Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain have been around for a decade or more, and already represent tens of thousands families, many new “Rainbow Families” organizations have been created in recent years in countries such as the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and Hungary. Since its formation NELFA grew from 7 members to 20 associations from 17 different countries.
More information: http://www.NELFA.org

The objective of the Second European LGBT Families Conference

The Second European Conference on LGBT Families will combine presentations, workshops, shared life experiences and leisure time. We are expecting between 700 and 800 people from different European countries and beyond. Our main objective is to empower social change, make our families visible, and have an impact on the media in our respective countries. We work together with other organizations and governments to address inequality suffered by LGBT families and their children and spread the achievements of LGBT rights across the continent.
More information: http://www.familieslgtb2012.org

LGBT families 2nd european meeting

Welcome. The second European Meeting of LGBT Families in Catalonia joins us together to share our experiences of father and motherhood.

We will be able to share what we do in our daily lives as well as the successes and shortcomings of our respective legislation laws on the protection of our children from LGBT families.

We are an engine of social change. .. We bring new values, such as, equality and respect for diversity, to the definition of the word ‘family’. It is precisely for this reason that such differences in European legalities regarding our families is unacceptable. . In Europe today there are children who have two legal mothers or fathers but there are also those couples who unfortunately have no recognized parentage. Furthermore although there are countries in Europe where LGBT families are largely accepted on a social level, ironically on a legal level, however they are continued to be defined by law as second class citizens.

We must say that homophobia still exists within Europe. But homophobia reduces with social awareness . The main objective of our meeting in Catalonia is to make our existence more visible to them. We invite you then to participate, contribute, reflect, grow, share and join with us to strengthen and give witness to us becoming more visible to the world. So what are you waiting for? Come and have a great time!

(isabel)