by Rex Wockner
Swedish courts recently ruled on three cases involving lesbians.
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal of a lower-court decision that awarded $2,576 in damages to a woman to whom a kennel refused to sell a dog because the woman is a lesbian.
The Supreme Court also denied an appeal in the case of two lesbian couples who felt injured when a member of a local advisory board on health and welfare issues filed a dissenting opinion objecting to their adopting children. A lower court had agreed that the Discrimination Prohibition (Goods and Services) Act covers dissenting opinions by members of local government boards, but said that in the lesbians’ cases, the opinion did not carry the detrimental effects necessary to amount to “less favorable treatment.” The adoptions were granted.
In the third case, the District Court of Uppsala ordered the County Council to pay $6,440 to a lesbian who was denied assisted donor insemination by county health authorities. One partner in a lesbian couple had undergone three unsuccessful attempts at insemination, then was refused further attempts because she had turned 40, the county’s cutoff age. The couple then asked that the other, younger partner receive the three additional allowed attempts, but the authorities refused, saying only one woman in a lesbian relationship could be treated at county expense.
The county argued that its decision amounted to treating lesbian and straight couples the same, since only one person in a straight partnership is permitted to receive assisted insemination. The court disagreed, saying the policy amounted to direct discrimination based on sexual orientation, and awarded the second woman damages. The County Council may appeal the decision.