Recognition of same-sex unions in Europe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.
Legal recognition of
same-sex relationships
Previously performed but not invalidated
  1. Can be registered also in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten
  2. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage

*Not yet in effect

LGBT portal

Debate has occurred throughout Europe over proposals to legalize same-sex marriage as well as civil unions.

Currently 24 of the 50 countries and 4 of the 6 dependent territories in Europe recognize some type of same-sex unions, among them a majority of members of the European Union. Eleven European countries legally recognize same-sex marriage, namely Belgium, Denmark,[nb 1] France, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,[nb 2] Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.[nb 3] An additional thirteen countries have a form of civil union or unregistered cohabitation, as do four dependent territories. San Marino only allows immigration and cohabitation of a citizen's partner. Several countries are currently considering same-sex union recognition.

The constitutions of Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Current situation[edit]


Country in force since notes
1[1][2] European UnionNetherlands Netherlands 1 April 2001
  • The law initially applied to the European Netherlands only.
  • On 10 October 2012 its scope was expanded to include the Caribbean Netherlands.
  • In Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten marriages performed in the other parts of the Netherlands can be registered.
2[3] European UnionBelgium Belgium 1 June 2003
3[4] European UnionSpain Spain 3 July 2005
4[5] Norway Norway 1 January 2009
  • Norway's "Registered Partnership" law, which took effect in 1993, was repealed when marriage was opened to same-sex couples.
5 European UnionSweden Sweden 1 May 2009
  • Sweden's "Registered Partnership" law, which took effect in 1995, was repealed when marriage was opened to same-sex couples.
6[6] European UnionPortugal Portugal 5 June 2010
7[7] Iceland Iceland 27 June 2010
  • Iceland's "Registered Partnership" law, which took effect in 1996, was repealed when marriage was opened to same-sex couples.
8[8] European UnionDenmark Denmark 15 June 2012
  • The law does not apply to the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
  • Denmark's "Registered Partnership" law, which took effect in 1989, was repealed when marriage was opened to same-sex couples.
9[9] European UnionFrance France 18 May 2013
10[10][11] European UnionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 13 March 2014
  • The law does not apply to Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  • In Scotland a separate law will come into force by late 2014.
11[12] European UnionLuxembourg Luxembourg 1 January 2015

Civil union[edit]

Jurisdiction in force since notes
1 Greenland Greenland
(constituent country of Denmark)
26 April 1996
  • "Registered Partnership"
2[13] European UnionNetherlands Netherlands 1 January 1998
  • "Registered Partnership"
  • The law initially applied to the European Netherlands only.
  • On 10 October 2012 its scope was expanded to include the Caribbean Netherlands.
3[14] European UnionFrance France 15 November 1999
  • "Civil Solidarity Pact"
  • The law does not apply to French Polynesia.
  • In 2009 its scope was expanded to include New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna.
4[15] European UnionBelgium Belgium 1 January 2000
  • "Statutory Cohabitation"
5[16] European UnionGermany Germany 1 August 2001
  • "Registered Life Partnership"
6[17] European UnionFinland Finland 1 March 2002
  • "Registered Partnership"
7[18] European UnionLuxembourg Luxembourg 1 November 2004
  • "Partnership"
8[19] Andorra Andorra 23 March 2005
  • "Stable Union"
9[20] European UnionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 5 December 2005
  • "Civil Partnership"
10[21] European UnionCzech Republic Czech Republic 1 July 2006
  • "Registered Partnership"
11[22] European UnionSlovenia Slovenia 23 July 2006
  • "Registered Partnership"
12[23] Switzerland Switzerland 1 January 2007
  • "Registered Partnership"
13[24] European UnionHungary Hungary 1 July 2009
  • "Registered Partnership"
14 [25] European UnionAustria Austria 1 January 2010
  • "Registered Partnership"
15[26] European UnionRepublic of Ireland Ireland 1 January 2011
  • "Civil Partnership"
16[27] Isle of Man Isle of Man
(British Crown Dependency)
6 April 2011
  • "Civil Partnership"
17[28] Liechtenstein Liechtenstein 1 September 2011
  • "Registered Partnership"
18[29] Jersey Jersey
(British Crown Dependency)
2 April 2012
  • "Civil Partnership"
19[30] European UnionGibraltar Gibraltar
(British Overseas Territory)
28 March 2014
  • "Civil Partnership"
20[31] European UnionMalta Malta 13 June 2014
  • "Civil Union"
21[32] European UnionCroatia Croatia 1 September 2014
  • "Life Partnership"

Future legislation[edit]


Austria: The opposition party The Greens - The Green Alternative submitted a bill to the National Council on 20 November 2013. It was sent to the Judiciary Committee on 17 December 2013. On 25 June 2014 the Judiciary Committee postponed consideration of the bill.[33]

Finland: A citizens' initiative by the Tahdon2013 campaign received the required number of signatures for a bill to be considered by parliament. The collection of signatures ended in September 2013. The bill was submitted to parliament on 13 December 2013. On 20 February 2014 a debate was held and the bill was sent to the Legal Affairs Committee.[34] On 25 June, the bill was rejected by the committee on a vote of 10-6. The bill will now face a final vote in the Parliament some time in Autumn.[35]

Germany: The opposition party The Left submitted a bill to the Federal Diet on 23 October 2013. It had its first reading on 19 December 2013.

Greenland: A bill aiming for the adoption of Denmark's marriage law is planned to be considered by parliament in the autumn of 2014.[36]

Ireland: The government announced plans to hold a referendum on the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the first half of 2015.[37]

Italy: Two bills were submitted to the Senate on 15 March 2013. A third bill was submitted on 5 April 2013. On 18 June 2013 the examination of those bills by several committees started.[38][39][40]

Jersey: On 28 May 2014 the deputy Sam Mezec of the Reform Jersey party submitted a proposition asking the Assembly of the States of Jersey to support, in principle, the legalisation of same-sex marriage and to request the Chief Minister to prepare the necessary draft legislation to give effect to the proposal.[41][42][43] On 8 July 2014, the Assembly voted for the amendment to the proposal, introduced by Senator Ian Le Marquand, to request the Chief Minister to present a detailed study into the effects of allowing same-sex marriage by 31 December 2014. The amendment was passed by 24 votes to 18 and the amended proposition by 39 to 1.[44][45][46]

Switzerland: The Green Liberal Party of Switzerland submitted a parliamentary initiative aiming for a constitutional amendment allowing couples to enter into a marriage or civil union "irrespective of gender or sexual orientation" to the National Council on 5 December 2013.[47]

Civil union[edit]

Estonia: On 17 April 2014 40 members of parliament submitted a Cohabitation Agreement bill.[48][49] On 19 June 2014, the parliament rejected the motion to kill the bill at the first reading, in a 32-45 vote. The second reading will take place in the autumn of 2014.[50]

Greece: On 7 November 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in Vallianatos and Others v. Greece that excluding same-sex couples from registered partnerships is discriminatory.[51] On 12 November, the party Panhellenic Socialist Movement announced its intention to introduce a bill extending the registered partnership law to same-sex couples.[52][53]

Guernsey: In January 2014 it was announced that within the next twelve months Deputies will debate whether to accept a States-recognised civil union.[54]

Italy: On 20 March 2013 and 26 March 2013 Civil Union and Cohabitation bills were submitted to the Senate. On 18 June 2013 the examination of those bills by several committees started. A third bill was submitted on 19 December 2013. Its examination started on 4 March 2014.[55][56][57] The government announced plans to submit another bill to the Senate in September 2014.[58]

European Union: Debate has occurred in the European Union over a proposal which would require each member to legally recognize each other's same-sex marriages as well as any member's civil unions and registered partnerships to ensure the right of freedom of movement for citizens' family members.[59]

Public opinion[edit]

Public support for same-sex marriage from EU member states as measured from a 2006 poll is the greatest in the Netherlands (82%), Sweden (71%), Denmark (69%), Spain (66%), Belgium (65%), Luxembourg (58%), Finland (54%), Germany (52%) and the Czech Republic (52%).[60] However, other polls have also placed Germany and France between 54% to 65%,[61] the UK at 61%.[62]

After the approval of same-sex marriage in Portugal in January 2010, 52% of the Portuguese population stated that they were in favor of the legislation.[63] In 2008 58% of the Norwegian voters supported the Marriage Act, which was introduced in the same year, and 31 percent were against it.[64] In January 2013 54.1% of Italians respondents supported same-sex marriage[65] In a late January 2013 survey 77,2% of Italians respondents supported the recognition of same-sex unions.[66]

In Ireland, a 2008 survey revealed 84% of people supported civil unions for same-sex couples (and 58% for same-sex marriage),[67] while a 2010 survey showed 67% supported same-sex marriage[68] by 2012 this figure had risen to 73% in support.[69]

A March 2013 survey by Taloustutkimus found that 58% of Finns supported same-sex marriage.[70]

In Croatia, a poll conducted in November 2013 revealed that 59% of Croats think that marriage should be constitutionally defined as a union between a man and a woman, while 31% do not agree with the idea.[71]

In Poland a 2013 public poll revealed that 70% of Poles reject the idea of registered partnerships.[72] Another survey in February 2013 revealed that 55% were against and 38% of Poles support the idea of registered partnerships for same-sex couples.[73]

In comparison, support tends to be the lowest in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, and Romania. The average percentage of support for same-sex marriage in the European Union as of 2006 when it had 25 members was 44%, which had descended from a previous percentage of 53%. The change was caused by more socially conservative nations joining the EU.[60]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Excluding the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
  2. ^ Excluding Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
  3. ^ Excluding Northern Ireland.


  1. ^ (Dutch) Wet openstelling huwelijk
  2. ^ (Dutch) Invoeringswet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba
  3. ^ (Dutch) Wet tot openstelling van het huwelijk voor personen van hetzelfde geslacht en tot wijziging van een aantal bepalingen van het Burgerlijk Wetboek
  4. ^ (Spanish) Ley 13/2005, de 1 de julio, por la que se modifica el Código Civil en materia de derecho a contraer matrimonio
  5. ^ (Norwegian) Lov om endringer i ekteskapsloven, barnelova, adopsjonsloven, bioteknologiloven mv. (felles ekteskapslov for heterofile og homofile par)
  6. ^ (Portuguese) Lei n.º 9/2010 de 31 de Maio
  7. ^ (Icelandic) Lög um breytingar á hjúskaparlögum og fleiri lögum og um brottfall laga um staðfesta samvist (ein hjúskaparlög)
  8. ^ (Danish) Lov om ændring af lov om ægteskabs indgåelse og opløsning, lov om ægteskabets retsvirkninger og retsplejeloven og om ophævelse af lov om registreret partnerskab
  9. ^ (French) LOI n° 2013-404 du 17 mai 2013 ouvrant le mariage aux couples de personnes de même sexe
  10. ^ Marriage (Same-sex couples) Act 2013
  11. ^ Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014
  12. ^ (French) Mémorial A n° 125 de 2014
  13. ^ (Dutch) Invoeringswet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba
  14. ^ (French) Loi n° 99-944 du 15 novembre 1999 relative au pacte civil de solidarité
  15. ^ (German) Gesetz zur Einführung des gesetzlichen Zusammenwohnens
  16. ^ (German) Gesetz über die Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft
  17. ^ (Swedish) Lag om registrerat partnerskap
  18. ^ (French) Loi du 9 juillet 2004 relative aux effets légaux de certains partenariats
  19. ^ (Catalan) Llei 4/2005 qualificada de les unions estables de parella
  20. ^ Civil Partnership Act 2004
  21. ^ (Czech) 115/2006 Sb. o registrovaném partnerství a o změně některých souvisejících zákonů
  22. ^ (Slovene) 2840. Zakon o registraciji istospolne partnerske skupnosti
  23. ^ (German) Bundesgesetz über die eingetragene Partnerschaft gleichgeschlechtlicher Paare
  24. ^ (Hungarian) 2009. évi XXIX. törvény a bejegyzett élettársi kapcsolatról, az ezzel összefüggő, valamint az élettársi viszony igazolásának megkönnyítéséhez szükséges egyes törvények módosításáról
  25. ^ (German) Gesamte Rechtsvorschrift für Eingetragene Partnerschaft-Gesetz
  26. ^ Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010
  27. ^ Civil Partnership Act 2011
  28. ^ (German) Gesetz über die eingetragene Partnerschaft gleichgeschlechtlicher Paare (Partnerschaftsgesetz; PartG)
  29. ^ Civil Partnership (Jersey) Law 2012
  31. ^ AN ACT to regulate civil unions and to provide for matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto
  32. ^ POVIJESNA ODLUKA U SABORU Istospolni će parovi od rujna imati ista prava kao i bračni partneri
  33. ^ (German) Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, Änderung
  34. ^ (Swedish) Medborgarinitiativ till riksdagen med förslag till lagar om ändring av äktenskapslagen, lagen om registrerat partnerskap och lagen om fastställande av transsexuella personers könstillhörighet (MI 3/2013 rd)
  35. ^ "Legal committee votes against gay marriage". Yle. 25 June 2014. 
  36. ^ (Danish) Aleqa: Der er forskelsbehandling på homo og heteroseksuelle par
  37. ^ Kenny backs referendum on same sex marriage
  38. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 15
  39. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 204
  40. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 393
  41. ^ "CIVIL MARRIAGES: SAME SEX COUPLES". States of Jersey. 28 May 2014. 
  42. ^ "Additional information for P.102/2014". States of Jersey. 28 May 2014. 
  43. ^ "Gay marriage proposition lodged by Reform Jersey". BBC. 28 May 2014. 
  44. ^ "CIVIL MARRIAGES: SAME SEX COUPLES (P.102/2014) – SECOND AMENDMENT". States of Jersey. 8 July 2014. 
  45. ^ "Same sex marriage law delayed in Jersey". BBC. 8 July 2014. 
  46. ^ "Gay marriage decision rejected by the States". Jersey Evening Post. 8 July 2014. 
  47. ^ (German) 13.468 – Parlamentarische Initiative - Ehe für alle
  48. ^ Gender-Neutral Cohabitation Bill Submitted to Parliament
  49. ^ (Estonian) Kooseluseadus 650 SE
  50. ^ "Gender-Neutral Civil Union Bill Survives Early Morning Vote". EER. 19 June 2014. 
  52. ^ (Greek) Ανάληψη πρωτοβουλίας του ΠΑΣΟΚ για το σύμφωνο συμβίωσης
  53. ^ (Greek) Τροπολογία για το σύμφωνο συμβίωσης από το ΠΑΣΟΚ
  54. ^ "Deputies to debate civil unions within the next year". Guernsey press. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  55. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 239
  56. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 314
  57. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 1211
  58. ^ "Italy to begin civil union debate in September". The Local. 17 June 2014. 
  59. ^ Report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers
  60. ^ a b "EU Public Opinion: SSM" (PDF). Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  61. ^ (French) "Couples homosexuels: Les Français sont pour l'adoption" [Gay Couples: The French are for adoption]. Le Journal du Dimanche. 27 June 2008. 
  62. ^ Church 'out of touch' as public supports equal rights for homosexuals, The Times, 27 June 2009
  63. ^ "New England's largest GLBT newspaper". Bay Windows. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  64. ^ AVJonathan Tisdall  . "Support for gay marriage". Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  65. ^ (Italian) [1] Datamonitor, 7 January 2013
  66. ^ (Italian) Il Rapporto Italia 2013 | L'Italia del presentismo Eurispes, 31 January 2013
  67. ^ "Increased support for gay marriage - Survey". 31 March 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  68. ^ "Yes to gay marriage and premarital sex: a nation strips off its conservative values". Irish Times. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  69. ^ Poll finds Irish support for gay marriage at 73%
  70. ^ Poll: Over half of Finns favour same-sex marriage law
  71. ^ (Croatian) "Anketa za HRT: 59 posto građana ZA promjenu Ustava". 29 November 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  72. ^ (Polish) Polacy: Związki partnerskie? Niepotrzebne! [SONDAŻ TOK FM]
  73. ^ (Polish) Sondaż: Polacy przeciwko związkom partnerskim. [SONDAŻ TNS OBOP]