European Parliament working to ensure all its nations recognize one another’s legal relationships

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The European Parliament has adopted a new resolution pledging to ensure all families’ rights remain fully intact within its nations.

The move came after Parliament criticized the European Commission Stockholm Programme, intended to “set out the European Union’s (EU) priorities for the area of justice, freedom and security for the period 2010-14,” for failing to follow through on its pledge to allow European “citizens and their family members [to]exercise in full the right to free movement” within the whole of Europe.

The Commission has undertaken the responsibility of drafting laws to assist each nation in recognizing one another’s civil status documents, including marriage and civil partnership certificates, and ensuring that the appropriate legal rights are granted. Not all such documents are recognized automatically within every EU member state, which can create legal difficulties—especially for LGBT families.

For instance, a same-sex couple that legally married in Belgium and adopted a child would find that under Italy’s laws, not only are the adults considered to be two single people, but their child would be classified as an orphan. Even on a brief vacation, this could cause considerable difficulties if, for example, emergency medical care was required.

As such, the Commission has been asked by the Parliament to work to “eliminate discriminatory legal and administrative barriers for both male and female citizens and their families who wish to exercise their right to free movement… [and]allow EU citizens and residents and their families to retain throughout the Union existing rights attached to civil statuses already legally recognised in several European jurisdictions,” according to Pink News.

A member of the European Parliament and the pro-LGBT Intergroup, Monika Flašíková-Beňová, said in an argument reminiscent of one being used regarding a near-identical topic in the United States, “It isn’t freedom of movement if your civil status literally evaporates at the border of one Member State. Whenever a civil status is already legal in one Member States, others must recognise individual this for individual situations.

“This won’t introduce same-sex unions into countries that don’t want it at the moment—the EU cannot do this. This is respecting the sovereignty of Member States where these unions exist.”

429Magazine

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