European Commission issues clear statement on mutual recognition of same-sex unions

The European Commission issued a clear statement on the 1st December, explaining that the mutual recognition of existing marriages and partnerships between people of the same sex was indeed a competence of the European Union.

Commissioner Viviane RedingFollowing the oral debate on the mutual recognition of same-sex couples in a marriage or civil partnership last September, extreme-right MEP Oreste Rossi (Italy, EFD) had asked a question to the Commission. He affirmed that mutually recognising existing marriages and partnerships between people of the same sex threatened the “social and cultural harmony” of Member States, and was incompatible with the motto of the European Union, “United in diversity”.

In her response (DOC), Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding explains why recognising the effects of existing marriages and partnerships is a matter for the European Union:

Without prejudice to national legislation on family law, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the implementation of EU law by the Member States is prohibited by Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Member States implement Union law, for example, when applying the provisions on free movement to Union citizens and their family members wishing to move from one Member State to another.

[…] The exercise by EU citizens of their rights to free movement and residence, as provided by EU law, has to be complied with by Member States and does not require that the Member States provide in their internal legal order for same-sex unions.

The debate on mutual recognition is ongoing.

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