Same-sex couples gain freedom of EU movement

In a ground-breaking judgement given on Tuesday, the Court of Justice of the European Union recognised freedom of movement for same-sex couples.

“The term ‘spouse’ within the meaning of the provisions of EU law on freedom of residence for EU citizens and their family members includes spouses of the same sex” the Luxembourg Court says in a press release.

The case was brought to the Luxembourg court by Adrian Coman, a Romanian-American national who married his partner in Belgium. After several years of living abroad, Adrian Coman moved back to Romania with his spouse. However, Clai Hamilton was denied a residence permit on the ground of family reunion, because Romanian law does not recognised same-sex marriages or partnership contracted abroad.

According to the European Court of Justice, a EU citizen who used their right to freedom of movement, moved to another Member State and established their family life there, should be able to return to their home country with their partner – including their same-sex partner they married in another EU state.

Co-chair of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup Daniele Viotti MEP commented in response to the court ruling, “Today is a historic day. All families should benefit from the right to freedom of movement, guaranteed by the treaties of the European Union.

“Adrian Coman and Clai Hamilton are only one of the many couples that have suffered from this discrimination based on sexual orientation. It is now clear: when a marriage is contracted in one EU state, it should be recognised in all other Member States. Same-sex marriage is no exception.”

Sophie in’t Veld MEP, vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup, added “While this calls for celebration, we must stress that much remains to be done for Rainbow Families in the European Union. Too few countries allow same-sex couples to enter registered partnerships, let alone marriage. These families remain unrecognised and unprotected by law.

“It is now up to politicians to take the matter in their hands and introduce marriage equality soon”.