There are a lot of debates over proposals to legalize same-sex parental adoption and step-child adoption. Currently some types of adoption by same-sex couples are legal in 20 countries and in 4 dependent territories in Europe.
Full joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 16 European countries:
Andorra – 25 December 2014
Austria – 1 January 2016
Belgium – 30 June 2006
Denmark – 1 July 2010*
* The law does not apply to the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
Finland – (effective 1 March 2017)
France – 18 May 2013
Iceland – 27 June 2006
Ireland – 6 May 2016
Luxembourg – 1 January 2015
Malta – 13 June 2014
Netherlands – 1 April 2001*
*The law applied to the European Netherlands only.
On 2012 its scope was expanded to include the Caribbean Netherlands.
Norway – 1 January 2009
Portugal – 1 March 2016
Spain – 3 July 2005
Sweden – 1 February 2003
United Kingdom – 30 December 2005*
*The law does not apply to Northern Ireland and Scotland.
On 28 September 2009 a separate law came into force in Scotland. Since 11 December 2013 in Northern Ireland.
Step-child adoption in which the registered partner can adopt the biological and, in some cases, the adopted child of his or her partner is allowed in:
Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in:
Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory) – 28 March 2014
Greenland (Autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark) -1 July 2016
the Isle of Man (British Crown Dependency) – 6 April 2011
Jersey – (British Crown Dependency) 2 April 2012
Estonia – 1 January 2016*
*Only parties to a registered cohabitation agreement may adopt. However, cohabitation agreements cannot be registered.
Germany – 1 January 2005
Slovenia – July 2011*
*In July 2011, The Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs stated that the existing law allows for second-parent adoption.
Italy – June 2016*
*In a decision published on 22 June 2016, the Italian Court of Cassation admitted stepchild adoption in same-sex couples.
Croatia – 5 August 2014 “Partner-guardianship”
Full joint adoption
Faroe Islands – on 29 April 2016, Parliament passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage and joint adoption. Now this bill awaits for approval.
Germany – the opposition party submitted a bill on 23 October 2013. It had its first reading on 19 December 2013.
Guernsey – in May 2015, Guernsey’s Chief Minister announced that a review of the 1960 Adoption Law which bars unmarried couples from adopting was scheduled for 24 June 2015. The Chief Minister hopes to extend full adoption rights to couples in overseas civil partnerships and those who have lived together for some time. On 24 June 2015, the States of Guernsey agreed to bring about changes to its adoption law.
Czech Republic – in September 2014, was introduced a bill to allow step-child adoption by a partner of the same-sex. In October, the government decided to not take a stance on the bill.
San Marino – in March of 2016, the United Left announced a proposal for a gender-neutral partnership bill with adoption rights. The junior coalition partner, the Party of Socialists and Democrats, expressed their openness to same-sex parenting and may submit their own bill with step-child adoption rights.
Switzerland – in 2011/2012, Parliament debated whether to extend step-child adoption or full joint adoption, ultimately opting for step-child adoption. In November 2014, the government approved allowing step-child adoption as part of a broader adoption reform. After approval, it will likely be put to a referendum. On 8 March 2016, the Council of States approved a bill allowing step-child adoption. The bill now awaits a vote in the National Council.