ECJ ruling on same-sex marriage case, equally hailed and slammed

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The ruling pronounced by the European Court of Justice on Tuesday which practically admits gay marriages following the complaint filed by a Romanian-U.S. gay couple has stirred prompt reactions.

While the Accept NGO that advocates for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Romania and one of the case’s applicants, Adrian Coman, have hailed the ruling, ADF International, an NGO promoting the religious freedom has said the ECJ decision risks prompting law chaos.

Now we can look into the eyes any public servant in Romania and across the entire EU, as we have the certitude that our family relation remains as valuable and relevant, regardless of the country that we are living in the European Union. We are happy that the European judges had recognized us as family and we thank all those who endorsed us, and, indirectly, the rest of the similar families. Today, human dignity has won,” said Adrian Coman, through a press release issued by Accept.

The release also says that the ECJ „is responding without any hesitation to the question raised by the constitutional judges: all families, regardless of the sexual orientation of the partners, have equal rights on freedom of movement.

Accept added that the Constitutional Court of Romania is now compelled to observe the ECJ ruling and to acknowledge that Adrian and Robert Clai are a family. „The ruling does not compel Romania to legalize same-sex marriage, but only compels it to recognize the legal effects of a relations that has already been registered, as well as to recognize Clai’s right to settle down in Romania,” said Iustina Ionescu, the human right lawyer who represented the gay couple in court.

In retort, ADF International Brussels, an NGO providing legal advocacy to protect and promote religious freedom, says that the ruling on Coman-Hamilton case is troublesome.

„A lot of European countries recognize and protect marriage as the union between a man and a woman in their laws and Constitutions, as it is their right. Regulating the basic notions in the family law- „spouses”, „family member” and „marriage” falls under the authority of the EU member states (…) Today’s ruling pronounced by the European Court of Justice is removing national authority in this field, by the fact that it advances a <new> definition of the concept of spouses, also including the same-sex partners,” says Adina Portaru, ADF International lawyer in a press release sent to our editorial office.

She added that the right to the freedom of movement cannot redefine previously well established notions, such as „marriage” and „family”.„Compelling a member state, despite its democratically assumed stance, to amend its national legislation to recognize same-sex relationships means to deliberately ignore the democratic procedures in that country. In Romania, for instance, three million people have recently signed a citizen’s initiative to enhance the marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the Romanian Constitution. By redefining the notion of „spouses” by including same-sex pairs, the ECJ does not observe the national sovereignty and the European diversity and it thus risks prompting a legislative chaos,” Iustina Ionescu concluded.

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