Vallianatos & Mylonas v. Greece, C.S. & Others v. Greece

Civil unions

(Applications Nos. 29381/09 & 32684/09), 20 June 2011 

Find Court’s judgement here. (Violation of Article 14)

  • The applicants alleged that the fact that the civil unions were designed only for couples composed of different-sex adults infringed their right to respect for their private and family life and amounted to unjustified discrimination between different-sex and same-sex couples.
  • ILGA-Europe, together with the International Commission of Jurists, the International Federation for Human Rights and the AIRE Centre submitted the following:
    • According to the case-law of the ECtHR and national constitutional courts, a strong justification is required when the ground for a distinction is sex or sexual orientation. A growing number of national courts, both in Europe and elsewhere, also required that unmarried different-sex and same-sex couples be treated in the same way and a large number of Council of Europe member States have enacted legislation recognising same-sex relationships.
    • The case of Greece was unique, as it was the only European country to have introduced civil unions while excluding same-sex couples from their scope of application.
  • The European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgement on 7 November 2013.
  • The Court referred to the interveners’ analysis of its own case-law and of national constitutional courts (para 69). The Court considered that the Government had not offered convincing and weighty reasons capable of justifying the exclusion of same-sex couples from civil unions. Accordingly, it found a violation of Article 14 of the Convention taken in conjunction with Article 8.

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