Romania failed to protect same-sex couples, European court rules

European court has found that Romania breached the right to respect for the family life of 21 same-sex Romanian couples by failing to recognise their relationships.

In a ruling released today, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found that Romania violated Article 8 (right to respect for private and family right) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

21 same-sex couples lodged over two dozen complaints to the ECHR between 2019 and 2020 arguing that, because Romania does not recognise any type of same-sex union, it was impossible for them to legally safeguard their relationships. The couples, born between 1967 and 1996, were all of Romanian nationality and currently live in various parts of the country.

The couples turned to the European court since local authorities had refused their demands. After living together for different lengths of time, the couples gave notice to the local registry offices of their intention to marry. All requests were rejected because according to the Romanian Civil code “marriage is concluded between a man and a woman” and same-sex marriage is prohibited.

In its ruling, the ECHR reiterated that Council of Europe member states are required to provide a legal framework that protects and recognises same-sex relationships. It also referred to a previous judgment Fedotova and Others  v. Russia and remarked that states have some discretion on the form of recognition.

The court concluded its decision by noting that “none of the arguments put forward by the [Romanian] Government to justify the restriction on legal unions to heterosexual marriage could outweigh the applicants’ interest in having their relationships recognised.”

The 21 couples had declared that they were unable to access numerous rights available for married couples such as protections in property or inheritance, and other obstacles all same-sex couples in Romania face. ILGA-Europe provided third-party submissions jointly with FIDH, NELFA and ECSOL.

This May, Romania, ranked 41st on ILGA-Europe’s annual Rainbow Map and Index. Close to its fifth anniversary, Romania has not yet implemented the landmark judgment issued by the CJEU recognising the freedom of movement of same-sex spouses in the EU.

See also

News

Significant European Court judgments in two cases concerning violence against LGBTI people involving state agents

Two successful European Court cases brought against Russia underline state obligations to protect LGBTI community from violent counter demonstrators and general hate motivated violence.
read more
Blog

For good and bad: The trending impacts on LGBTI human rights in Europe and Central Asia

The most striking finding of ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review 2023 is a stark rise in the ferocity of anti-LGBTI hate and violence reported in Europe and Central Asia. But alongside this worrying trend, there are positive developments in areas such as legal gender recognition, public support, intersex human rights and civil society. Here are the key highlights.
read more
News

Bulgaria’s Supreme Court Rejects Baby Sara’s Bulgarian Citizenship

Arguing that Baby Sara is not a Bulgarian citizen, the country’s Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) said that their decision not to grant a birth certificate […]
read more
News

European Court rules against Lithuania labelling LGBTI-inclusive fairytale book harmful to children

Published in 2013 by the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences and written by the late lesbian writer, Neringa Dangvyde Macate, the book was entitled ‘Amber […]
read more
News

After Polish Case, CJEU Rules to Protect Self-employed Workers based on Sexual Orientation

In December 2017, a self-employed worker and his partner published a music video on YouTube aimed at promoting tolerance towards same-sex couples. Shortly after the […]
read more
Press Release

LGBTI organisations welcome EU parental recognition proposal with the best interests of the child at its core

EU-wide parenthood recognition is key in ensuring equal protection for all children in the Union, say ILGA-Europe and NELFA.
read more
News

Sexual orientation is not a reason to terminate a contract with a self-employed worker, says Advocate General of the CJEU

Today, the Advocate General of the CJEU has issued an opinion in the case of J.K. vs the Polish public broadcaster company TP, stating that discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment is not acceptable under EU law.
read more
Blog

Update: The Rights of Rainbow Families in the EU

The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled in two occasions over recent months that EU countries must protect the freedom of movement of rainbow families. This is a right all EU citizens should enjoy, LGBTI people too. In today’s blog, we bring you the state of LGBTI people’s family rights in different EU countries.
read more
News

Rainbow families have the right to move and reside freely, EU court reiterates

The Court of Justice of the EU has stated that birth certificates issued in an EU country must be recognised across the EU, and that EU countries should protect the freedom of movement of rainbow families.
read more
News

Complaint Filed with EC Against Lack of Free Movement for Same-sex Couples in hungary

ILGA-Europe, alongside a Hungarian activist organisation, have filed a complaint against Hungary because of its refusal to implement the 2018 Coman judgement, which recognises that […]
read more
News

Bulgarian Court Rules Baby Sara Must Be Issued Birth Certificate

A Bulgarian court has ordered city hall authorities in the capital city of Sofia to issue a birth certificate to the baby born to a […]
read more
Case Law

A.B. and K.V. v Romania

Recognition of same-sex marriages in the context of freedom of movement in the EU through the prism of implementation of CJEU’s Coman judgment Submitted jointly […]
read more
Blog

How Baby Sara and her mums have pushed forward the rights of all rainbow families across the EU

When an EU country recognises a child and its same-sex parents as a family, all EU countries should recognise them as such, so to guarantee their freedom of movement. This is what the EU’s top court ruled in December. But how this case has advanced LGBTI rights in the European Union and what comes next for rainbow families?
read more
Case Law

Macaté v. Lithuania

Freedom of expression, warning labels restricting artistic expression.
read more
Blog

What has 2021 meant to the LGBTI movement in Europe? Listen to our latest podcast episode to find out this year’s highlights

As 2021 comes to an end, we have collected some of the moments, events and trends that have marked the year in the latest episode of The Frontline, ILGA-Europe’s podcast about LGBTI activism and lives in Europe and Central Asia. Read here some of the episode’s highlights and find out reasons to stay hopeful in 2022.
read more
Press Release

Top EU Court Recognises Relationship of Same-sex Parents and their Children Under EU Law

In a landmark judgement, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that a child and its same-sex parents must be recognised as […]
read more
Case Law

Coman and Others v Romania

Recognition of same-sex marriages in the context of freedom of movement in the EU through the prism of implementation of CJEU’s Coman judgment.
read more
Blog

How trans parents are better protected after European Court ruling

Recently, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of a trans woman in Russia who was denied access to her children because of her gender identity and transition. Read on to find out how this may benefit all trans and LGBTI parents in Europe.
read more
News

European Court rules in favour of the best interest of the child in same-sex custody case

The European Court of Human rights has ruled that the refusing a mother custody of her youngest child on the grounds of her sexual orientation to be discriminatory and a violation of her right to private and family life.
read more
Press Release

LGBTI organisations welcome European Court judgement in favour of trans parental rights in Russia

Today, in a landmark judgement strongly welcomed by TGEU and ILGA-Europe, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of a woman in […]
read more
Blog

Freedom of movement for same-sex spouses: The Coman Case, 3 years on

ON 5 JUNE 2018, THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (CJEU) ISSUED A LANDMARK JUDGEMENT AGAINST ROMANIA, RECOGNISING THAT THE TERM SPOUSE INCLUDES SAME-SEX SPOUSES UNDER EU FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT LAWS. THREE YEARS LATER, CLAI HAMILTON, SPOUSE OF ROMANIAN CITIZEN ADRIAN COMAN, HAS NOT BEEN GRANTED RESIDENCY YET. NOW THEY’VE BROUGHT THE CASE TO THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS (ECHR). HERE, ADRIAN COMAN TALKS ABOUT THE ORIGINAL CASE, AND HIS HOPES WITH THIS LATEST DEVELOPMENT.
read more
Blog

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Rainbow Family Rights in Europe

Across Europe, the rights of rainbow families are divergent, yet every European country has one thing in common: legal protection for LGBTI parents and their children is stalling. To mark International Day of Families 2021, we look at the situations and challenges for rainbow families across the region.
read more
Podcast

Rainbow Family Rights in Europe – Part 4: At a Crossroads in Ukraine

Several pathways for partnership rights were part of the Ukraine took in EU-Ukraine Association agreement 2014-2016. Based on it the Ukrainian government developed a human […]
read more
Podcast

Rainbow Family Rights in Europe – Part 1: The Coman Case Three Years On

Three years ago, Adrian and his partner Clai were successful bringing their case to the Court of Justice of the European Union, which judged that […]
read more
BlogPodcast

Listen: Rainbow Family Rights in Europe in 2021 and Beyond

ILGA-Europe’s podcast The Frontline presents a brand-new mini-series looking at the many issues affecting LGBTI parents and their children across Europe.
read more
Podcast

Rainbow Family Rights in Europe – Part 2: Baby Sara, Stateless Child

We meet Kalina and Jane, from Bulgaria and the UK respectively. Because their daughter Sara was born in Gibraltar, she cannot claim UK citizenship via […]
read more
Podcast

Rainbow Family Rights in Europe – Part 6: The Future

ILGA-Europe’s advocacy director, Katrin Hugendubel and Björn Sieverding from the Network of European LGBTIQ Families explore the issues coming down the line in terms of […]
read more
Podcast

Rainbow Family Rights in Europe – Part 5: The Rights of Trans Parents and their Children

In March 2021, Transgender Europe (TGEU) published the report, “Stuck on the swing: experiences of trans parents with freedom of movement in the EU”, in […]
read more
Podcast

Rainbow Family Rights in Europe – Part 3: The Western Balkans

We are joined by Danijel Kalezi?, president of the Governing Board of Queer Montenegro, which helped usher in legislation for civil unions for same-sex couples, […]
read more
News

Opinion from European court: same-sex parented families should be officially recognised in all EU member states

Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s opinion says that Bulgaria’s lack of recognition for same-sex parented families cannot justify a violation of EU freedom of movement law.
read more