LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Same-sex family related issues

Discrimination against unmarried same-sex partners (compared with unmarried different-sex partners)

  • Tenancy succession rights
    • Karner v. Austria (24 July 2003) (violation of Article 8, respect for home, together with Article 14) (only unmarried different-sex and not same-sex partners could succeed to a tenancy after the death of the official tenant)
    • Kozak v. Poland (2 March 2010) (same issue as Karner v. Austria)
  • Reduction in child maintenance payments when absent parent enters new relationship must also apply to those in same-sex relationships
  • Recognition that same-sex couples enjoy "family life" under Article 8
    • Schalk & Kopf v. Austria (24 June 2010): (the Court rejected the applicants’ claim that their denial of marriage violated their rights under Article 12, and Articles 8 and 14. Despite this, the case marks an important step forward, since, for the first time, the Court recognized that the relationship of cohabiting same-sex couples living in a stable de facto partnership falls within the Article 8 notion of ‘family life’ - see paragraph 94).
  • Sickness insurance available to the unmarried different sex partner of an insured person must also be available to a same-sex partner
    • P.B. and J.S. v. Austria (22 July 2010) (in this case the Court also reaffirmed the principle established in Schalk and Kopf that the Article 8 notion of "family life" applies to same sex couples).
  • Civil unions for same-sex couples
    • Joint cases of Vallianatos and Mylonas v. Greece and C.S. and others v. Greece(7 November 2013) (the Court ruled that Greece had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by excluding same-sex couples from a “civil union”, restricted in Greece to heterosexual couples).
    • Oliari and Others vs Italy (21 July 2015) (Court ruled that Italy’s failure to provide any form of legal recognition for same-sex couples is a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights).


  • Custody of an LGBT individual's genetically-related children after a divorce:
    • Mouta v. Portugal (21 Dec. 1999) (violation of Articles 8, family life, with Article 14)
  • In states which allow adoption by individuals, any decisions regarding adopters to be taken without discrimination on basis of sexual orientation:
    • E.B. v. France (22 Jan. 2008) (violation of Article 14 combined with Article 8, private or family life)
  • Equal treatment of unmarried couples to same-sex couples applying for second-parent adoption: