A lesbian couple from Albania who are fighting to be recognised as joint parents of their twin daughters say they will take their case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) if the country’s top courts rule against them.
Alba Ahmetaj and Edlira Mara cannot both be registered as parents of the two-year-old girls under Albanian law, and they are refusing to state that Mara – the biological parent – is a single mother. “We are not treated like every citizen, we are second-class citizens,” Ahmetaj, 43, who works at rights group ProLGBT with her partner of 13 years, told Openly during an interview in the capital, Tirana.
In the absence of joint recognition, if the legal parent dies or becomes seriously ill, the surviving partner has no rights over the couple’s children, who risk going to foster homes or being entrusted to other relatives. “If something happens to Eda (Mara), our babies will go to an orphanage or they will be under the custody of her cousins,” said Ahmetaj.
Ahmetaj and Mara took the government to court over the issue, but lost, leading them to file a lawsuit at the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on the case in the coming months.