Wednesday, June 06, 2018

A victory for equality in the EU

Western Europe has led the way on marriage equality, with same-sex marriage laws being passed in virtually all former NATO states. But eastern Europe has lagged behind, and some states such as Poland are virulently homophobic. But today, thanks to a European Court of Justice decision, things got a little better:

EU countries that have not legalised gay marriage must respect the residency rights of same-sex spouses who want to live together in their territory, the European court of justice has ruled, in a move hailed as a victory for human dignity.

The ECJ said member states must recognise the rights of all married couples to free movement, no matter their gender or sexual orientation.

The ruling came in response to a case in which Romanian authorities were accused of discriminating against Adrian Coman, who wanted to be able to live in his home country with his American husband, Claibourn Robert Hamilton, with whom he had been living for four years in the US before they married in Brussels in 2010.

Romanian authorities refused to grant Hamilton a right of residence on the grounds that he could not be classified in Romania as the spouse of an EU citizen. The men had appealed to Romania’s constitutional court, which referred the case to Luxembourg.

Effectively, the EU's bigot-bloc will now have to recognise same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, at least in immigration decisions. And that in turn is likely to feed in to other government discrimination as well. It's not an ECHR decision declaring bans on same-sex marriage to be discriminatory and unlawful, but its still progress.