According to Article 21 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, State Parties shall, in all matters related to adoption, “ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.” This is why there can be no subjective right or entitlement for any would-be parents, whatever their sexual orientation or marital status may be, to adopt children.

This poster, by contrast, suggests that, according the European Human Rights Court (ECtHR), the policy of certain Member States not to allow homosexual individuals or same-sex couples to adopt children is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

This is a gross falsity, the apparent purpose of which is to manipulate the public opinion. If the statement made by the poster were correct, it would mean that the laws of 21 of the 27 EU Member States (i.e., all except the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and the UK) violate the Convention.

It is regrettable and astonishing that through hosting and co-financing this photo exhibition the European Commission lends  uncritical and unreserved support to this attempt at misleading the public. Once more, it is to be reminded that the EU has no competence in these matters, which makes the Commission’s action seem even more out of place.

In reality, the ECtHR has made a completely different statement.

In the case of E.B. vs. France, the ECtHR has ruled that if and where a Member State allows individual persons (as opposed to married couples) to adopt children, a person’s sexual orientation should not be the sole ground for excluding him or her from applying. This does not mean that any Member State is under an obligation to allow the adoption of children by individual persons. Nor does this mean that the Convention includes, be it for individual persons or for couples, a “Right to an Adoptive Child”.

A legislation that ensures that children are adopted into what resembles a natural family context (and thus does not allow homosexual couples to adopt children) is therefore not in contradiction to Human Rights. It is perfectly reasonable and legitimate for any Council of Europe Member State to maintain or introduce such legislation, which in fact most of them do.