The bill allows for the female partner of the child’s mother (the so-called ‘duo mother’) to assume legal responsibility for the child without having to complete the judicial adoption procedure. The new bill also brings the parental rights of lesbian parents significantly into line with those of their heterosexual counterparts. Children aged 12 and above will have to provide consent before parental rights are granted.

Since the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the Netherlands in 2001, COC Nederland has campaigned for equal rights for lesbian parents and their children. State Secretary Teeven introduced the current bill in 2011 and it was adopted by the Upper House of the Dutch Parliament in November 2013.

Parents that have already completed the adoption procedure prior to 1 April cannot be recognised as ‘duo mothers’, as the adoption already affords them parental status. If the ‘duo mother’ is yet to be officially recognised as the legal parent of the (already born) child, she can now apply for acknowledgement – regardless of the age of the child.