Thursday, 24 May, 2018

European Union adviser: gay couple in Romania should get equal treatment

Clai Hamilton whose residency application to Romania was rejected and Adrian Coman.
Credit
Accept Association Clai Hamilton whose residency application to Romania was rejected and Adrian Coman. Credit Accept Association
Kenny Thornton | 13 January, 2018, 03:33

Romania's refusal to recognize gay marriage does not mean it can deny residency rights to a citizen's American husband, an adviser to the EU's top court said Thursday.

The official opinion of the advocate general - the highest officers of the court who advise judges on how to rule on complex cases - will now be considered by a panel of ECJ judges.

Mr Coman, a Romanian national, and Mr Hamilton, a U.S. national, cohabited for four years in the United States before marrying in Brussels in 2010.

Combined, they could soon require each of the EU's 28 member nations to extend the rights and benefits of marriage equality to LGBTQ people across Europe - European Union gay marriage right would be big deal affecting untold hundreds of thousands of people.

A directive on the EU's freedom of movement principle in 2004 grants rights to an European Union citizen's spouse, without specifying how spouse is defined.

Romania's Constitutional Court asked the European Court of Justice, which is based in Luxembourg, to weigh in with its legal interpretation of the case.

Hersdmen's threat won't make me repeal anti-grazing law- Gov Ortom
Ortom said the Plateau governor denied making the statement. "We can not allow people to colonise us again, we have all it takes to do that".

However, the Romanian authorities refused to grant Mr Hamilton that right of residence on the ground, inter alia, that he could not be classified in Romania as the "spouse" of an European Union citizen, that member state not recognising same-sex marriage. In December 2012, Mr Coman and his spouse requested the Romanian authorities to issue them with the necessary documents in order to enable Mr Coman to work and reside permanently in Romania with his spouse.

About 3 million people signed a petition backing a referendum to amend the Romanian Constitution so it explicitly states that marriage only can be a union between a man and a woman. The law will apply in all countries, including those that are yet to legalise gay marriage, which includes Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia and the Ukraine.

The Advocate General also notes that the concept of "spouse" is necessarily linked to family life, which is protected in an identical manner by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It will also ensure the term "spouse" is always seen as gender neutral by law.

Same-sex marriage is recognized in at least a dozen European Union countries-including Germany and Malta, which passed legislation past year.

The Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld said: "This is fantastic news and a landmark opinion for rainbow families".

The ECJ has had a relatively benign history with the United Kingdom - unlike the more contentious European court of human rights in Strasbourg - but nonetheless became a symbol of compromised sovereignty during the Brexit referendum.

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