Petition to the European Commission for recognision of existing same-sex unions across the EU
Directorate-General for Justice
Unit A1 - Judicial Cooperation in Civil Matters
Fax No: + 32-2/299 64.57
To the attention of the European Commission,
in response to the (European Commission’s) Green Paper on "Less bureaucracy for citizens: promoting free movement of public documents and recognition of the effects of civil status records
" we think there is a need for EU to remove any obstacles that European citizens and their partners may face when asking for their marriage or civil union celebrated in one Member State to be recognised in another.
Several practical problems arising in the daily lives of citizens in cross-border situations could be solved by facilitating recognition of the effects of civil status records legally established in other EU Member States.
While technically enjoying freedom of movement, many EU workers cannot practically opt for a job in another country in which their partner and children would not be legally recognised as such. As for children of same-sex families, often they can only be registered as offspring of one of their parents. This results in the other parent being denied legal rights over his or her own children.
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
makes it clear that “the right to marry and the right to found a family shall be guaranteed in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of these rights
”. However, there are at least four articles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights that the current fragmentation of gay rights in Europe violates:
Article 9: “everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life”. At the moment, the lives of many couples and their children are not respected, if they cannot move to an EU country and continue to see their family recognised as such
Article 15: “Every citizen of the Union has the freedom to seek employment, to work, to exercise the right of establishment and to provide services in any Member State”. As highlighted earlier, while technically enjoying this right, many EU workers cannot practically opt for a job in another country, in which their partner and children would not be legally recognized
Article 24. 3: “Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his or her parents, unless that is contrary to his or her interests". At the moment, children with same-sex parents can only be registered as offspring of one of their parents in countries like Italy. This has often resulted in the other parents being denied legal rights over their children when they move to those countries for reasons of work.
Article 33: “the family shall enjoy legal, economic and social protection”. It is hard to enjoy protection if one’s husband and children are not legally recognised, socially protected and do not form an economic unit.
Moreover, Section 2.3 of the Stockholm Programme
specifies that measures to fight discrimination and homophobia should “be vigorously pursued
”. Given this, the European Commission should implement the measure within its Green Paper not only by reducing the existing bureaucracy but also by providing the citizen effective tools to benefit from their fundamental freedom contained in all the EE Treaties and Charter.
In fact, section 3.1.2 highlights how “mutual recognition should be extended to fields that are essential to everyday life, e.g. […] matrimonial property rights
”. There is therefore a favourable legal and political framework within which to place a campaign for the recognition of all forms of partnerships across the EU.
Our effort toward this specific single-issue campaign is moved by the awareness that this is a starting point and not just a final goal within the field of LGBT rights.
For this reason, while a call for regulation of gay partnerships in the whole of the EU would be desirable but beyond European Commission competences, focusing on one relatively small issue like the mutual recognition of all types of unions, may be a more achievable first-step.
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