Ghent celebrates co-motherhood

The East Flemish city of Ghent held a celebration on Saturday of a new law that grants so-called “co-mother” the same rights as birth mothers. Since 1 January the partners of lesbian mothers that have given birth to a child no longer have to adopt their partner’s child in order to become its legal parent.

Since the beginning of the new year so-called “co-mothers” can follow the same procedure as partners in heterosexual relationships to gain recognition as a child’s legal parent.

Previously the partner in a lesbian relationship that had not carried a child had to adopt the infant in order to gain legal recognition as one of its parents. However, a change in the law means that since 1 January they are given automatic legal recognition as the child’s mother providing they are married to its birth mother.

For unmarried couples, a simple adminsitrative procedure exists whereby the co-mother can officially recognise the child born to her partner in order be granted full parental right. This is the same procedure that already existed for unmarried heterosexual couples.
Jeroen Borghs of the LGBT federation çavaria told the VRT that "The same rules now exist for lesbian couples as for heterosexual couples.”

The law also provides transitional measures for children that were born before 1 January 2015.

"Children that don’t have two legally-recognised parents and have not yet been adopted by their co-mother can now be officially recognised by their co-mothers at the registry office.”