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12 January 2018, 11:26 | Devin Moran
Same sex spouses have same residency rights as straight couples, says EU judge
"They can not hinder freedom of residence of a citizen of Union by denying grant to ir spouse, of same sex, national of a non-member State of Union, a right of permanent residence in ir territory", he says.
Adrian Coman, from Romania, and Clai Hamilton, an American, got married in Brussels eight years ago. When they returned to live in Romania, the Romanian government replied that it doesn't legally recognize same-sex marriages.
EU laws guarantee citizens of member states and their family members the right to move and freely reside in any country in the bloc, subject to certain conditions, raising questions about the legal rights of same-sex spouses in countries where such unions are not legal.
He noted that "the directive makes no reference to member state law in order to determine the nature of "spouse", even though that concept must be interpreted autonomously and uniformly throughout the EU".
The ECJ's advocate general, Melchior Wathelet, said in an official legal opinion there had been "evolution" in the societies of EU countries, and the idea that "the term marriage means a union between two persons of the opposite sex can no longer be followed".
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will still need to rule on the case - brought by a man whose American husband was refused residence in his home country of Romania - which could expand legal recognition of same-sex marriages across Europe. The couple challenged the decision in Romania's constitutional court, saying it was discriminatory on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Sophie in 't Veld, the Vice President of the European Parliament's LGBTI Intergroup, told PinkNews: "This is fantastic news and a landmark opinion for rainbow families!" Combined, they could soon require each of the EU's 28 member nations to extend the rights and benefits of marriage equality to LGBTQ people across Europe - European Union gay marriage right would be big deal affecting untold hundreds of thousands of people. In its conclusions, known this Thursday, community lawyer opens door to a greater protection of rights of homosexual marriages in countries where it is not legalized.
If Coman's bid is successful, the ruling would be controversial in Romania, where U.S. evangelicals have pushed a law to ban same-sex marriage. It is one of six European Union countries with no legal recognition of same-sex relationships, along with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia.
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