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Problematic judgment in same-sex marriage case undermines national law

Court of Justice of the European Union puts forward a new definition of  “spouses”


LUXEMBOURG (5.6.2018)–On 5 June 2018, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled in the case of Coman and others:

“The decision of the Court of Justice of the EU in the case of Coman and others is deeply problematic. Many European countries recognize and protect marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It is their right to do so. The core notions of family law – ‘spouses,’ ‘family member,’ and ‘marriage’ – fall within the competence of EU Member States. This is well supported by the language of core EU law on the matter, including today’s ruling of the Court of Justice. By putting forward a definition of ‘spouses’ as including same-sex partners, the Court eradicates national competence on the issue”, said Adina Portaru, Legal Counsel for ADF International based in Brussels.

“The free movement of persons cannot be used as a backdoor to redefine well-understood terms like ‘marriage’ and ‘family’. Forcing a Member State to amend its national law to legally recognize same-sex relationships means deliberately ignoring national democratic processes. In Romania, for example, three million people signed an initiative to define marriage as between one man and one woman in the constitution. By redefining the term ‘spouse,’ the Court of Justice signals its disrespect for national sovereignty and diversity in the EU and it risks creating legal chaos as a result.”

See our legal memo on the case

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