Berlin gay couple Kai (L) and Michael Korok and their daughter Jana
Berlin gay couple Kai (l) and Michael Korok and their daughter Jana Getty

Two Berlin men have become the first same-sex couple in Germany to jointly adopt a child, a move hailed by gay rights groups as "big step forward".

Michael and Kai Korok adopted a four-year-old girl, Jana, who has lived with them as a foster child since shortly after her birth.

The adoption was approved on Tuesday (10 October) by a Berlin court, according to the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany.

The move is viewed as a rapid step forward for gay rights in Germany, where gay marriage was only made legal on 1 October.

"It's once again a big step forward for gays and lesbians with better judicial security," said Joerg Steinert, who heads the Berlin branch of Germany's lesbian and gay association.

He added: "It is also proof that 'marriage for all' is not just symbolic."

The Koroks have been in the vanguard of civil rights in Germany, turning their civil partnership into marriage on 2 October, a day after it became legal in the country.

Two days later, they submitted their wedding certificate to seek legal adoption of the young girl who has lived with them for almost four years.

Lawmakers this year voted to give Germany's roughly 94,000 same-sex couples the right to marry, following a shift in position by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel had long opposed same-sex marriages, only agreeing to a free vote in Parliament on the matter in June, shortly before the country's national elections.

The bill, which enjoyed strong public support, passed by a wide margin, with 393 lawmakers voting in favour of marriage equality and 226, including Merkel, voting against.

Her shift in position – after a dozen years of opposition by her ruling Christian Democrats party and their Bavarian allies – was seen by some as a tactical move to deprive rivals of a popular campaign issue ahead of September's national election.