Wednesday

14th Apr 2021

Timmermans calls for same-sex marriage across EU

  • Timmermans: 'There is no reason for homophobia. There is no reason to discriminate' (Photo: ILGA-Europe)

The vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, wants same-sex marriage recognised throughout all member states.

“The commission should go forward and try to get all member states in the EU to unreservedly accept same-sex marriage as other marriages”, he said at a gala organised last week in Brussels by ILGA-Europe, a gay rights NGO.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The EU executive cannot propose bills on marriage and family affairs, policy areas reserved for national governments.

Instead, Timmermans' overt support for the cause is seen as political pressure on capitals.

“This is an issue very close to him personally and I imagine he spoke addressing individually EU member states, not even thinking about the EU context”, said a spokesperson from ILGA-Europe.

Same-sex marriages in the EU are valid in Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK (except northern Ireland).

Finland has passed new marriage equality legislation, but it won’t enter into law until 2017. Slovenia is also on the verge of accepting same-sex marriages, but may have to go to a referendum first. In May, Ireland in a referendum voted in favour of same-sex marriage.

Mutual recognition

ILGA-Europe is instead hoping the commission will push for mutual recognition as part of the larger “principle of the freedom of movement”, which is an EU competence.

It means same-sex married couples would be recognised as married no matter where they live in the EU.

Timmermans agrees.

At the gala he said member states where same-sex marriage is banned should have “the decency to respect the decision of other countries to have same sex-marriage recognised”.

“The fact that when people move to another country they run into all sorts of idiotic problems that married couples who aren't from the same sex never run into, I think that is a disgrace”.

ILGA says the lack of such recognition poses a major problem for couples transferred from a company, for instance, based in France, to a subsidiary based in Austria.

“We see it as an issue of freedom of movement because basically the lack of mutual recognition undermines the whole principle”, said ILGA-Europe’s spokesperson.

Children of same sex couples

Mutual recognition also applies to children of couples who are in a same-sex relationship.

If a married lesbian couple in Denmark take their child to Italy on a holiday break then the non-biological mother no longer has any rights as a parent or as a partner.

Should the biological mother and child end up in the hospital in Italy, then the non-biological mother would have no legal rights on their behalf under Italian law.

Same-sex couples with children may therefore choose to avoid countries that have no co-parent recognition. But their destination of choice in the EU would be severely limited.

Aside from Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden also have no co-parent recognition.

Timmermans, for his part, said the only thing children need is loving parents.

“Who gives a damn if these two loving parents are two men or two women?”, he said.

This article was updated on 30 June, 2015 at 9:00 to include Ireland as among the member states backing same-sex marriage

Malta legalises same-sex marriage

Once regarded as conservative, the catholic island of 440,000 becomes the latest EU country to allow same sex couples to marry.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

News in Brief

  1. EU states make progress on Covid-19 'travel certificates'
  2. Michel pledges to protect von der Leyen's 'dignity' in future
  3. Libya frees UN-sanctioned human trafficker
  4. European court: jailed Turkish writer's rights violated
  5. EU set to miss 1m electric charging points by 2025 target
  6. Lavrov expects Iran nuclear deal to be saved
  7. France suspends flights from Brazil due to Covid variant
  8. Johnson & Johnson delays roll-out of vaccine in EU

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. Nato and US urge Russia to back off on Ukraine
  2. Future EU platform seeks to 'stay clean' of hate speech
  3. Denmark threatens Syria deportations amid EU concerns
  4. MEPs raise concerns on vaccine 'travel certificates'
  5. Will Romania be EU's Green Deal laggard?
  6. Muslims, Ramadan, and myths facing 'European civilisation'
  7. Europe & Africa - rebuilding the future
  8. How the pandemic became an EU goldmine for crime

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us