Homosexual marriages also enjoy freedom of movement in the EU

Homosexual marriages also enjoy freedom of movement in the EU

A senior adviser to the European Union's top court has backed a Romanian gay man's right to have his United States husband live with him in Romania.

The move is seen as a huge step in the right direction for equal rights campaigners, and comes following the case of Romanian national, Adrian Coman who was unable to live in Romania with his American husband.

Married same-sex couples should have the same right to freedom of movement as straight spouses, a senior adviser to the European Court of Justice has said.

"Although member states are free to authorize marriage between persons of the same sex or not, they may not impede the freedom of residence of an European Union citizen by refusing to grant his or her spouse of the same sex... a right of permanent residence in their territory".

Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said the term "spouse" should include partners of the same sex when it came to the freedom of residence of European Union citizens and their family members.


The advice is not binding, but judges ruling on cases before the court have generally followed the advocate's lead.

That request was based on the directive on the exercise of freedom of movement, which permits a spouse of an European Union citizen who has exercised that freedom to join his or her spouse in the member state where the latter resides. He added that all EU governments have a responsibility to uphold the rights of their citizens regardless of their sexual orientation, and that by refusing to grant residency to a spouse on these grounds was against the fundamental policies of the Union.

He noted that "same-sex marriage will be possible in Austria too", by this time next year.

If the ECJ does rule in the couple's favour it would pave the way for legal recognition of same-sex marriages to be expanded across Europe. "Statistical investigations confirm it; the authorization of marriage between persons of the same sex in a referendum in Ireland also serves as an illustration". Negative because country does not recognize homosexual marriage. The couple met in NY in 2002 and lived together there for four years, but Hamilton remained in NY initially when Coman moved to Belgium for work.

"The fact that Mr. Hamilton did not live continuously with Mr. Coman in [Brussels] does not seem to me to be capable of rendering their relationship ineffective", he wrote. "The fact that the couple do not live together can not in itself have any effect on the existence of a proven stable relationship - which is the case - and, consequently, on the existence of a family life".

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