Two women, one Polish and one British, after being refused registration of their daughter in Poland, are escalating their grievance to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

Happily ever after is not for everyone

Happily ever after is not for everyone

Zofia m. and Katherine m., and their daughter Maria are building a case based on the administrative infringement of the European Convention on human rights. They accuse the Polish authorities of discrimination and violation of the right to family life.

They allege the Polish authorities and the courts have broken article 8 of the Convention on the right to privacy and family life, and article 14, which prohibits discrimination.

Zofia is Polish, and Katherine English. They gave birth to Maria in 2011 in the United Kingdom. On the birth certificate it lists the mother as Katherine, and Zofia as “parent”. At the heart of the problem Poland is refusing to recognise the birth certificate and register Maria. When they attempted to register her, the Office of civil status (Urzędu Stanu Cywilnego) in Łódź rejected it, stating that the Polish rules were for “the traditional model of the family”.

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The two women have exhausted all options with the civil office, the provincial and supreme courts, all of whom are saying that the parents must be listed as opposite sex.

Not being able to register may impact Maria’s future in terms of citizenship, inheritance, parental duties, and her rights.

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights emphasises that while it member states are not obliged to legalise same-sex unions, they are forbidden from discriminating because of sexual orientation. As Maria would have had no problem being registered if her parents had been one of each sex, the claim is pursuing that discrimination in particular .

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