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5th June 2018 | Equality, Justice, Press Releases

O’Gorman welcomes EU Court of Justice recognition of same-sex marriage

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Green Party Justice spokesperson, Cllr Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed today’s ruling by the Court of Justice in the Coman case, saying that the ruling shows real-life protections that flow from the spread of marriage equality.

“The applicant was a Romanian national who had married a US national while they both lived in Belgium, where same-sex marriage is recognised. When the two spouses sought to come back to Romania, the Romanian authorities refused to give Hamilton a right of residence in Romania, as that country does not recognise same-sex marriage.

What today’s decision states is that even if a Member State does not recognise same-sex marriage within its own laws, it cannot keep out the spouse of a EU Citizen who is originally from outside the EU, as that would interfere with the free movement rights of the EU citizen.

“What today’s decision states is that even if a Member State does not recognise same-sex marriage within its own laws, it cannot keep out the spouse of a EU Citizen who is originally from outside the EU, as that would interfere with the free movement rights of the EU citizen – in this case, Mr. Coman.

The Court of Justice stated that the word ‘spouse’ in the EU Citizenship Directive is gender neutral and therefore can apply to same-sex couples. This opens up the possibility that similar rulings could be made in areas of social security benefits, pensions etc

“From a broader point of view, the Court of Justice stated that the word ‘spouse’ in the EU Citizenship Directive is gender neutral and therefore can apply to same-sex couples. This opens up the possibility that similar rulings could be made in areas of social security benefits, pensions etc. As such, this ruling is an important step in delivering the tangible benefits to men and women that flow from the steady expansion of marriage equality across Europe.

“This protection for non-EU nationals who are married to EU nationals will be of interested to Northern Ireland residents following  Brexit. For example, if a Northern Ireland resident who does not possess an Irish passport marries a Northern Ireland resident who does have an Irish passport, and is thus a EU citizen, he or she would be covered by this ruling if the married couple ever moved to an EU country that did not recognise marriage equality.”