European Court compels Romania to recognise rainbow families


Eastern Europe


A demonstrator holds a Christian cross while others hold banners during a rally against gay marriage in Bucharest. The ruling of the ECHR will most likely meet much opposition among the Romanian population. Photo AFP, Illona Andrei

Romania is obliged to implement legislation that recognises same-sex couples.

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected the state's appeal against an earlier ruling of the Court. In May, the European Court of Human Rights issued a verdict in a court case that was started by 42 people against the Romanian state four years ago. The complainants argued that Romania violated Article 8 of the Convention of the Court of Human Rights. This article reads that people have the "right to respect for private and family life", Romania Journal reports. The Court agreed with the prosecution that Romania failed to guarantee its citizens of this right.

In response, the Romanian state appealed to a higher chamber of the ECHR, the Grand Chamber. However, they did so in vain. Last week, the panel of judges of the Grand Chamber rejected the appeal. That means that the obligation for Romania to recognise same-sex relationships remains in place, Romania Journal reported last week.

The Accept Association, which promotes LGBT rights in Romania, confirmed the ruling. "There are no longer any recourses by which the state can evade its obligations towards its own citizens. It is time for Romania to take the natural step, for which the majority of the population declares itself ready", the NGO stated.


However, Romania's ruling party, the Social Democrats (PSD), are not keen on introducing legislation that recognises same-sex marriage, Euractiv writes. The ruling may be resisted by a significant proportion of voters from the ruling coalition, the news website believes. Also, the Orthodox Church, which has much power in Romania, is a strong opponent of same-sex marriages.

Lucian Romașcanu, the leader of the PSD senators, said on Wednesday that Romania is committed to fulfilling its duties as an EU member state. However, he also added that the state "also has something to say."



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