ADF International


Coman and Others

Date of most recent action: 21 Nov 2017

CJEU could force Member States to recognize same-sex ‘marriages’ contracted abroad

What’s at Stake:

Promotion of the Natural Family and Marriage


In 2010, Romanian citizen Adrian Coman and his partner, US citizen Robert Claibourn Hamilton, obtained a marriage certificate in Belgium. When Romania, in line with its national law, refused to consider them a married couple in Romania, they sued the government.

The couple argued that their right to freedom of movement within the EU had been violated. In 2016, the Romanian Constitutional Court referred questions of interpretation to the European Court of Justice (CJEU).

On 21 November 2017, the EU’s highest court held an oral hearing to answer the question of whether or not the CJEU has the competence to redefine marriage for all EU citizens.

The proceedings threaten the sovereignty of EU Members when it comes to family and marriage law. In the future, the EU may try to force States to recognize same-sex marriages established in any Member State, regardless of their own national legislation. Fourteen EU States define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Seven of these States have enshrined this definition in their constitutions.

As ADF International Legal Counsel Adina Portaru said, ‘Many European countries recognize and protect marriage as a union between a man and a woman in their laws and constitutions, as is their right. Countries should remain free to affirm that a mother and father are both essential in a child’s life. In times when the EU is facing significant internal pressures, the Court of Justice would further the division of the Union if it decides to redefine marriage and family.’

Sophia Kuby, Director of EU Advocacy for ADF International echoed Portaru’s comment on division in the EU: ‘The Union is deeply divided on the issue of marriage. If the EU’s highest court decides to contradict constitutional protections of marriage, it would lead to an unprecedented conflict of norms. It would create legal chaos and division, not more harmonization.’

Our Role in the Case:

ADF International has provided written observations to the Romanian Constitutional Court.

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Faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people.