Calls in Denmark for gay fathers to get legal rights at birth

A petition in Denmark calling for two gay fathers to be granted equal parental rights for their child, on Monday received more than the 50,000 signatures required to be considered by parliament.

The text, presented last Friday, calls for the creation of new status, “co-paternity”. It would give a child and its non-biological father legal rights and obligations they would not otherwise have, including parental authority and inheritance rights.

More than 73,000 people had signed the petition by Monday afternoon, a strong show of support in such a short period of time.

“Parenthood can currently be shared between a man and a woman, or between two women, but not two men,” Soren Kristensen Juliussen, who initiated the petition, told AFP. “Clearly, there’s a lack of justice.”

He and his husband welcomed their daughter Charlie in late November, via a surrogate.

Since his husband is the child’s biological father, Juliussen does not have legal parental authority over the child, which means he is not authorised to take her to the doctor or sign her up for preschool.

He plans to adopt Charlie after the initial waiting period of two-and-a-half years, which is what the Danish law currently allows.

“I’m confident there will be a change,” said Juliussen, who is currently on paternity leave — to which he is entitled as a so-called “social parent”.

“In Denmark, we like to be pioneers when it comes to gay rights,” 

In 1989, Denmark became the first country in the world to authorise civil partnerships between same-sex couples.

The Danish constitution stipulates that any public initiative gathering more than 50,000 signatures must be raised in parliament.