European Parliament stands up for same-sex families’ free movement

Today the European Parliament adopted its annual report on EU citizenship, in which it laments that same-sex couples and their families still face disproportionate obstacles when moving inside the European union.

Adina-Ioana Valean MEPIn the EU Citizenship Report 2010: Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights, the European Parliament “reiterates its previous calls for Member States to ensure freedom of movement for all EU citizens and their families, without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or nationality”.

Specifically, the Parliament reminds Member States that they must implement the rights granted under the Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC), not only to married heterosexual couples, but also to registered partners and same-sex spouses.

Currently, several Member States discriminate against same-sex couples who want to move or travel to their territory, despite the EU law asking that they be treated the same way as different-sex couples.

The Parliament further “calls on the Commission […] to ensure that the Directive is strictly applied”. The text had previously been deleted, but was reintroduced today by a majority of MEPs.

Adina-Ioana Vălean MEP, Rapporteur for the text, commented: “My report makes clear what Parliament has known for over four years now: same-sex couples face serious obstacles to their free movement, which is a pillar of the European Union.

“If we are serious about the European project, the Commission needs to address this situation, as well as other obstacles faced by the citizens when exercising their rights, such as the portability of social benefits, recognition of diplomas and inheritance tax.”

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the LGBT Intergroup, further explained: “A mother should never be refused entry to her child’s hospital room because her parental authority isn’t recognised. We are not trying to impose same-sex marriage across the EU. Quite simply, what we want is what all decent, fair-minded people want: that a family—any family—be able to travel or live anywhere in the EU without the risk of being separated from their loved ones.”

2013 will be declared the European Year of EU Citizenship.