Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

'Spouse' includes same-sex partners, European Union court adviser says

'Spouse' includes same-sex partners, European Union court adviser says

Wathelet issued the opinion in regards to a 2010 case involving a Romanian citizen named Adrian Coman who married his American husband, Claibourn Robert Hamilton, in Brussels in 2010.

EU countries should recognise the right of all spouses to residency even if they do not allow gay marriage, according to the advocate general for the European Court of Justice. The case was later referred to the court.

EU laws guarantee citizens of member states and their family members the right to move and freely reside in any country in the bloc, subject to certain conditions, raising questions about the legal rights of same-sex spouses in countries where such unions are not legal.

The Romanian authorities refused to grant a right of residence on the grounds that Hamilton could not be classified in Romania as the spouse of an European Union citizen.

A press release [PDF] from the ECJ states "the legal issue at the centre of the dispute is not that of the legalization of same-sex marriage, but that of the free movement of European Union citizens". It will also ensure the term "spouse" is always seen as gender neutral by law.

Advising the European Court of Justice on the case, Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said Thursday balanced Romania's interest in protecting "the traditional family" against its obligation not to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.

Eden Hazard to Real Madrid
Karim Benzema is also sidelined with a hip problem and is not expected back until later in January, per Marca's Pablo Polo . Everything being said about Real Madrid these days is negative, and I do not see things like that, as many do not.

The ECJ has had a relatively benign history with the United Kingdom - unlike the more contentious European court of human rights in Strasbourg - but nonetheless became a symbol of compromised sovereignty during the Brexit referendum.

Wathelet noted that the Netherlands and Belgium were the only two European Union member states that made marriage available to same-sex couples in 2004 when the European Union citizenship directive at issue was adopted.

Concluding, he said: "In that context, the advocate general considers that, in view of the general evolution of the societies of the member states of the EU in the last decade in the area of authorisation of same-sex marriage. the term "marriage means a union between two persons of the opposite sex" can no longer be followed".

The EU directive on the issue, Mr Wathelet added, made no reference to member state law in order to determine the nature of "spouse".

The case will be decided by a national court or tribunal later this year - although judges generally follow the Luxembourg court's directives. Moreover, the ECtHR also considered that, in the area of family reunification, the objective of protecting the traditional family can not justify discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. They would have been compelled to do so had Mr Coman's partner been of the opposite sex.

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