European Union High Court Hears Same-Sex Marriage Case That Could Expand Rights To All Member Nations

The New York Times reports:

The European Union’s highest court began examining a case on Tuesday over a Romanian man’s attempts to get legal residency for his American husband, a closely watched hearing that will have major implications for the legal recognition of same-sex relationships across Europe.

The case, legal experts say, could determine whether same-sex partners are afforded some of the same benefits and rights available to heterosexual spouses across the 28-member bloc, irrespective of the countries’ stance on same-sex marriage. Specifically, it would affect whether they would be allowed to live and work freely across the European Union, one of the region’s fundamental principles.

In early 2016, three million Romanians out of a population of roughly 20 million signed a petition calling for the constitutional definition of marriage to be altered, from a union between two spouses to one specifically between a man and a woman. In July 2016, the country’s Constitutional Court accepted the validity of the proposal, paving the way for a referendum on the topic, which could be held next year.

Romania is one of six EU nations with no recognition for same-sex relationships. The others: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia.

RELATED: Last month Kim Davis and representatives of the Liberty Counsel toured Romania in support of the proposed anti-LGBT referendum.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    Make it happen!

  • bkmn

    I assume Mark Regnerus will be fabricating a new study that shows how horrible teh gehz are, just in time for this hearing.

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  • For reference, here are the (current) EU member states from Wikipedia:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/59/Member_States_of_the_European_Union_%28polar_stereographic_projection%29_EN.svg/650px-Member_States_of_the_European_Union_%28polar_stereographic_projection%29_EN.svg.png

    Also from Wikipedia: “Same-sex marriage has been legalized (nationwide or in some parts) in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico,[nb 1] the Netherlands,[nb 2] New Zealand,[nb 3] Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom[nb 4] the United States,[nb 5] and Uruguay.”

    So, this could affect quite a few folks. Let’s hope we win. =)

    • Steve Smith

      Hope so! I got “civil partnered” in Italy this year, which gives me ALMOST all the same rights as the heterosexuals. Including the right to live with my husband in Italy, though I have to get the full residency documentation. Full marriage with a right to move freely within the EU would be a blessing, given the current car crash which is Brexit removing that right from my fellow citizens.

      • Zollergasse

        Looks like we might finally be getting marriage here in Austria (allegedly one of Europe’s more advanced countries!) – no thanks to the politicians but thanks to the Constitutional Court which has indicated it will rule for marriage equality next month, My husband (US) and I (UK) have been together 24 year and were married in New York in 2011. We will be SO happy to finally have our marital status recognised in our adopted country.

        • ChrisMorley

          Thanks for the tip off and I’ve got everything crossed in hopes of a positive ruling.

  • Tawreos

    Hopefully this goes the right way and some good will come out of 2017.

  • Tawreos

    Who did Romania have to piss off to be punished by having Kim Davis and Liberty Counsel tour their country?

    • S1AMER

      Unfortunately, many Romanians were told they were beneficial emissaries from the United States, who would help them keep “those people” in their place.

      • Tawreos

        They obviously didn’t do their homework or they would have known that that loser and her attorneys are not good at keeping anyone in their place.

  • S1AMER

    Probably the deciding question for the court: Is there any other category of rights for the same group that differs country-to-country? For example, may a blind person move from one country to another and retain the same protections and benefits? What about a Jewish woman? Do all member countries recognize graduate degrees from each other?

    In other words, is it only married same-sex couples to some countries want to refuse comity?

  • JAKvirginia

    Once again, equality needs a court. Sigh…..

    • ChrisMorley

      Look on the bright side. It’s not Europe’s Human Rights Court hearing this case, but the European Court of Justice, which deals with enforcing EU treaty rights.
      The Romanian guy is a hero. He’s put his life and marriage to a US citizen on the line to expand relationship recognition rights.

      This case is technically about Freedom of Movement of citizens between member states and the rights to Family Reunification.
      Because he is gay, the Romanian Adrian Coman can’t bring his US husband Claibourn Robert Hamilton, to live with him in Romania. He could if he were his wife. http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/awaiting-ecj-judgment-in-coman-towards.html

  • Do Something Nice

    I think Poland would rather join Russia than allow this.

    • Hank

      The current Government certainly has NOT learned from its own history!!! Prior to WW1, Poland did not exist, as much of it was part of Russia, Austria-Hungary and Germany. Russia and Nazi Germany marched in and split the existing Poland in 1/2. Post-WW11, Poland was a Russian Satellite. Since, the end of the Communist Government, Poland has been growing economically, fast and furiously, in comparison to the rest of Eastern Europe. Now the Government wants to go backwards, along with Hungary to an “anti-west” existence!!!

      • JackFknTwist

        Unfortunately they seem to have equated right wing Catholicism with nationalism and it has become a backward looking society.

        • Rich

          They became nothing, they have always been. I have a ton of family in Poland (and my parents are Polish). Poland has for decades been “the Alabama of the Europe.”

  • misterjack

    Good. Drag those backward hicks into the 21st-century.

    • JAKvirginia

      Well, yeah. But y’know what gripes me? No one is materially hurt by same-sex marriage. NO ONE. Oh, yes, maybe in their dark, backward mind their feelings and sensibilities are hurt, but no one can show how they have lost business, clients, property, etc. by accepting same sex marriage. Any loss is self-inflicted and that’s not the court’s concern.

  • GanymedeRenard

    You got this, EU. You got this, come on.

  • JWC

    slowly and surley this will prevail

  • Publius

    It’s truly wishful thinking to say a positive ruling could have far reaching implications. EU courts are not like our courts. Here a case from Virginia may legalize interracial marriages everywhere. Or an Ohio case may legalize gay marriage everywhere. The same isn’t so in the EU. Reach is almost always narrow and specific to a country, even if the ruling makes a landmark finding. Latitude is always given to member states to decide whether and to what extent they would codify the principles of a ruling.

  • Halou

    It’ll make the bigots cry, they work so hard to stop people from getting married only to see those people hop across the border for a short ‘holiday’ and come back married and there is not a thing anybody can do about it. We can only hope.

  • So couples born like us, in the European Union, might actually get to enjoy the same legal freedom to marry that Earl& I were finally granted across our jomeland USA 2 years ago, after 39 years of our 41 years together.

    Get ready, inhumane godstyle-choices will fight this tooth and nail and turban and yamika and et cetera ad infinitum, as they continue to fight our marriage here in America even after the fact. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/426669135e528e508cf7d1a613a84158acd9dcf3d8b704c9fbec35318c309d08.jpg

  • Gianni

    Someone, please let Brian Brown know about this. I think he’s traveling over there now to support some other anti-gay thing. He might as well dive into this and save his loyal donors another round trip ticket.

  • RobinP

    The exact questions the Court needs to answer are these: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:62016CN0673:EN:HTML

    So in short whether “spouse” or “any other family member” includes a non-EU same-sex partner, and whether the (foreign) same-sex partner is allowed to reside with their (EU) partner.

    I’m pretty sure there will be a positive ruling (in fact the court’s president gave a talk I attended, and he gave it as an example where the court needs to provide impetus when politicians are stuck), but of course this is a small step and far from legalising same-sex marriage throughout the EU.

  • JCF

    Get equal, or GET OUT!