EU anti-discrimination directives avoid same-sex couple issues

by on October 22, 2008  •  In Family law

The European Union, having recently issued a directive calling on its member states to provide anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation in housing and commercial services (employment discrimination is covered in a separate, older directive), is now grappling with the issue of whether and how its member states should provide recognition to same-sex couples. 

EU directives require member states to provide certain rights, but leave it up to each nation to determine how best to achieve the particular outcome.

Family law, however, remains a matter for the member states and not the EU. At present some EU nations, such as Spain and Belgium, allow gay marriages. The UK has same-sex partnerships, a system that will be introduced in the Republic of Ireland.Other nations such as France have registration systems that give gay and lesbian couples some rights.The French pacte civil de solidarité (PACS) is fully recognised in Britain, but France does not recognise UK partnerships.

Legislation was introduced and tabled n the European Parliament earlier this month that would address the free movement rights of couples who marry or achieve recognition and then move to a country that does not offer such recognition. If it is signed by more than 50% of the MEPs, it will be adopted as a resolution.

It calls for "member states with existing same-sex partnership legislation to recognise the arrangements of other member states that have also made provisions for same-sex partnerships," and for "guidelines for such mutual recognition by member states with existing same-sex partnership legislation."

HT -Pink News


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