Recognition of same-sex unions in Europe

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Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.
Legal status of
same-sex relationships
Marriage
Recognized
Previously performed and not invalidated
  1. Can be registered also in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten
  2. Licensed in some counties in Kansas but same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state
  3. Only legal in St. Louis, Missouri
  4. 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 same-sex 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 twelve 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, banning same-sex marriage.

Current situation[edit]

Marriage[edit]

Jurisdiction entry into force notes
1[1] European UnionBelgium Belgium 1 June 2003
2[2] European UnionDenmark Denmark 15 June 2012
  • The law does not apply to the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
3[3] European UnionFinland Finland 1 March 2017
  • In order that the provisions of the framework law would be fully implementable further legislation has to be passed.
4[4] European UnionFrance France 18 May 2013
5[5] Iceland Iceland 27 June 2010
6[6] European UnionLuxembourg Luxembourg 1 January 2015
7[7][8] European UnionNetherlands Netherlands 1 April 2001
  • On 10 October 2012 the law's 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.
8[9] Norway Norway 1 January 2009
9[10] European UnionPortugal Portugal 5 June 2010
10[11] European UnionSpain Spain 3 July 2005
11 European UnionSweden Sweden 1 May 2009
12[12][13] European UnionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 13 March 2014
  • The law does not apply to Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  • In Scotland a separate law came into force on 16 December 2014.

Civil union[edit]

Jurisdiction entry into force repealed notes
1[14] Andorra Andorra 23 March 2005
  • "Stable Union"
2 [15] European UnionAustria Austria 1 January 2010
  • "Registered Partnership"
3[16] European UnionBelgium Belgium 1 January 2000
  • "Statutory Cohabitation"
4[17] European UnionCroatia Croatia 5 August 2014
  • "Life Partnership"
5[18] European UnionCzech Republic Czech Republic 1 July 2006
  • "Registered Partnership"
6[19] European UnionDenmark Denmark 1 October 1989 15 June 2012
  • "Registered Partnership"
  • A Registered Partnership registered before the law was repealed is still recognized as such.
7[20] European UnionEstonia Estonia 1 January 2016
  • "Cohabitation Agreement"
  • In order that the provisions of the framework law would be fully implementable further legislation has to be passed.
8[21] European UnionFinland Finland 1 March 2002
  • "Registered Partnership"
9[22] European UnionFrance France 15 November 1999
  • "Civil Solidarity Pact"
  • In 2009 the law's scope was expanded to include New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna.
  • It does not apply to French Polynesia.
10[23] European UnionGermany Germany 1 August 2001
  • "Registered Life Partnership"
11[24] European UnionGibraltar Gibraltar
(British Overseas Territory)
28 March 2014
  • "Civil Partnership"
12 Greenland Greenland
(constituent country of Denmark)
26 April 1996
  • "Registered Partnership"
13[25] European UnionHungary Hungary 1 July 2009
  • "Registered Partnership"
14[26] Iceland Iceland 27 June 1996 27 June 2010
  • "Confirmed Cohabitation"
  • A Confirmed Cohabitation registered before the law was repealed is still recognized as such.
15[27] European UnionRepublic of Ireland Ireland 1 January 2011
  • "Civil Partnership"
16[28] Isle of Man Isle of Man
(British Crown Dependency)
6 April 2011
  • "Civil Partnership"
17[29] Jersey Jersey
(British Crown Dependency)
2 April 2012
  • "Civil Partnership"
18[30] Liechtenstein Liechtenstein 1 September 2011
  • "Registered Partnership"
19[31] European UnionLuxembourg Luxembourg 1 November 2004
  • "Registered Partnership"
20[32] European UnionMalta Malta 14 April 2014
  • "Civil Union"
21[33] European UnionNetherlands Netherlands 1 January 1998
  • "Registered Partnership"
  • On 10 October 2012 the law's scope was expanded to include the Caribbean Netherlands.
  • It does not apply to Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
22[34] Norway Norway 1 August 1993 1 January 2009
  • "Registered Partnership"
  • A Registered Partnership registered before the law was repealed is still recognized as such.
23[35] European UnionSlovenia Slovenia 23 July 2006
  • "Registered Partnership"
24 European UnionSweden Sweden 1 January 1995 1 May 2009
  • "Registered Partnership"
  • A Registered Partnership registered before the law was repealed is still recognized as such.
25[36] Switzerland Switzerland 1 January 2007
  • "Registered Partnership"
26[37] European UnionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 5 December 2005
  • "Civil Partnership"

Future legislation[edit]

Marriage[edit]

Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority[edit]

Greenland: A bill aiming for the adoption of Denmark's marriage law, as supported by the government of Greenland, was planned to be considered by parliament in the spring of 2014, but postponed to the autumn of 2014.[38] However, because of early parliamentary elections held in November 2014, consideration of the bill has been delayed.

Ireland: The government announced plans to hold a referendum on the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the first half of 2015.[39] The referendum is expected to be held in May 2015.

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.[40][41][42] 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.[43][44][45] On 26 November 2014, the Chief Minister Ian Gorst published a report, which includes a commitment to introduce legislation to legalise same-sex marriage by the end of 2017 at the latest.[46][47]

Opposition proposals or proposals without a parliamentary majority[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.[48]

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.[49]

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.[50][51][52]

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.[53]

Civil unions[edit]

Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority[edit]

Andorra: On 2 June 2014 the ruling Democrats for Andorra party, aiming to establish civil unions, submitted a bill to parliament. On 27 November 2014 the bill was passed in a 20 to 3 vote. It is now awaiting promulgation. The Civil Union law will not affect the Stable Union law enacted in 2005.[54]

Greece: In November 2014, the government announced it would consider a number of major changes to Greece's Family Code, the most prominent being the extension of civil partnerships to gay couples so as to comply with a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. The Ministry of Justice has, however, stated that it would not be considering same-sex marriage.[55]

Guernsey: In January 2014, the government announced that within the following twelve months, deputies would debate whether to accept a States-recognised civil union.[56]

Italy: In October 2014 the government announced plans to submit a further bill (see below) "by the end of the year, or January at the latest".[57]

Opposition proposals or proposals without a parliamentary majority[edit]

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.[58][59][60]

Mutual recognition[edit]

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.[61]

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%).[62] However, other polls have also placed Germany and France between 54% to 65%,[63] the UK at 61%.[64]

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.[65] In 2008 58% of the Norwegian voters supported the Marriage Act, which was introduced in the same year, and 31 percent were against it.[66] In January 2013 54.1% of Italians respondents supported same-sex marriage[67] In a late January 2013 survey 77.2% of Italians respondents supported the recognition of same-sex unions.[68]

In Ireland, a 2008 survey revealed 84% of people supported civil unions for same-sex couples (and 58% for same-sex marriage),[69] while a 2010 survey showed 67% supported same-sex marriage[70] by 2012 this figure had risen to 73% in support.[71]

A March 2013 survey by Taloustutkimus found that 58% of Finns supported same-sex marriage.[72]

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.[73]

In Poland a 2013 public poll revealed that 70% of Poles reject the idea of registered partnerships.[74] Another survey in February 2013 revealed that 55% were against and 38% of Poles support the idea of registered partnerships for same-sex couples.[75]

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.[62]

Opinion polls[edit]

Opinion polls for same-sex marriage
Country Pollster Year For Against Don't Know/Neutral/No answer
 Austria Der Standard 2013 61%[76] 33%[76] 6%[76]
 Belgium Ipsos 2013 67%[77] 21%[77] 12%[77]
 Bulgaria Eurobarometer 2006 15%[78] 65%[78] 20%[78]
 Croatia Pilar's barometer 2014 17%[79] 61%[79] 1% – no answer; 21% – Neutral[79]
 Cyprus SIGMALIVE 2014 39%[80] 58%[80] 2%[80]
 Czech Republic CVVM 2014 45%[81] 48%[81] 7%[81]
 Denmark YouGov 2012 79%[82] 16%[82] 6%[82]
 Estonia ASi 2012 34%[83] 60%[83] 6%
 European Union Eurobarometer 2006 44%[78] 49%[78] 7%[78]
 Finland Taloustutkimus 2014 65%[84] 27%[84] 8%
 France Ifop 2014 68%[85] 32%[85] -
 Germany RTL/Stern 2013 74%[86] 23%[86] 3%[86]
 Greece A Kapa Research 2010 39%[87][88] 52%[87][88] 9%[87][88]
 Hungary Ipsos 2013 30%[77] 47%[77] 23%[77]
 Ireland Ipsos MRBI 2014 71%[89] 17%[89] 12%[89]
 Italy Demos 2014 55%[90] 42%[90] 3%[90]
 Latvia Eurobarometer 2006 12%[78] 77%[78] 7%[78]
 Lithuania 2013 5%[91] 84%[91] 8%[91]
 Luxembourg Politmonitor 2013 82%[92] 17%[92] 1%[92]
 Malta MaltaToday 2012 46%[93] 51%[93] 3%
 Netherlands Eurobarometer 2006 82%[78] 16%[78] 2%[78]
 Norway Ipsos 2013 78%[77] 17%[77] 4%[77]
 Poland PBS 2013 30%[94] 56%[94] 14%[94]
 Portugal Eurosondagem 2009 45.5%[95] 49.5%[95] 5%[95]
 Romania Eurobarometer 2006 11%[78] 79%[78] 10%[78]
 Russia Levada Public Opinion Center 2013 5%[96] 85%[96] 10%
 Slovakia Eurobarometer 2006 16%[78] 81%[78] 4%[78]
 Slovenia Eurobarometer 2006 22%[78] 75%[78] 4%[78]
 Spain Ipsos 2013 76%[77] 18%[77] 6%[77]
 Sweden Ipsos 2013 81%[77] 14%[77] 4%[77]
 Ukraine Gay Alliance of Ukraine 2013 9%[97] 79% 12%
 United Kingdom BBC Radio 5 2014 68%[98] 26%[98] 6%

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ (Dutch) Wet tot openstelling van het huwelijk voor personen van hetzelfde geslacht en tot wijziging van een aantal bepalingen van het Burgerlijk Wetboek
  2. ^ (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
  3. ^ (Swedish) Lag om ändring av äktenskapslagen
  4. ^ (French) LOI n° 2013-404 du 17 mai 2013 ouvrant le mariage aux couples de personnes de même sexe
  5. ^ (Icelandic) Lög um breytingar á hjúskaparlögum og fleiri lögum og um brottfall laga um staðfesta samvist (ein hjúskaparlög)
  6. ^ (French) Mémorial A n° 125 de 2014
  7. ^ (Dutch) Wet openstelling huwelijk
  8. ^ (Dutch) Invoeringswet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba
  9. ^ (Norwegian) Lov om endringer i ekteskapsloven, barnelova, adopsjonsloven, bioteknologiloven mv. (felles ekteskapslov for heterofile og homofile par)
  10. ^ (Portuguese) Lei n.º 9/2010 de 31 de Maio
  11. ^ (Spanish) Ley 13/2005, de 1 de julio, por la que se modifica el Código Civil en materia de derecho a contraer matrimonio
  12. ^ Marriage (Same-sex couples) Act 2013
  13. ^ Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014
  14. ^ (Catalan) [<http://www.consellgeneral.ad/fitxers/documents/lleis-2005/llei-4-2005.pdf/at_download/file Llei 4/2005>, del 21 de febrer, qualificada de les unions estables de parella]
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  17. ^ (Croatian) Zakon o životnom partnerstvu osoba istog spola
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  26. ^ (Icelandic) Lög um breytingar á hjúskaparlögum og fleiri lögum og um brottfall laga um staðfesta samvist (ein hjúskaparlög)
  27. ^ Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010
  28. ^ Civil Partnership Act 2011
  29. ^ Civil Partnership (Jersey) Law 2012
  30. ^ (German) Gesetz über die eingetragene Partnerschaft gleichgeschlechtlicher Paare (Partnerschaftsgesetz; PartG)
  31. ^ (French) Loi du 9 juillet 2004 relative aux effets légaux de certains partenariats
  32. ^ AN ACT to regulate civil unions and to provide for matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto
  33. ^ (Dutch) Invoeringswet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba
  34. ^ (Norwegian) Lov om endringer i ekteskapsloven, barnelova, adopsjonsloven, bioteknologiloven mv. (felles ekteskapslov for heterofile og homofile par)
  35. ^ (Slovene) 2840. Zakon o registraciji istospolne partnerske skupnosti
  36. ^ (German) Bundesgesetz über die eingetragene Partnerschaft gleichgeschlechtlicher Paare
  37. ^ Civil Partnership Act 2004
  38. ^ (Danish) Aleqa: Der er forskelsbehandling på homo og heteroseksuelle par
  39. ^ Kenny backs referendum on same sex marriage
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  45. ^ "Gay marriage decision rejected by the States". Jersey Evening Post. 8 July 2014. 
  46. ^ Commitment to allow same sex marriage
  47. ^ Jersey equal marriage paper published
  48. ^ (German) Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, Änderung
  49. ^ (German) Gesetz zur Einführung des Rechts auf Eheschließung für Personen gleichen Geschlechts
  50. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 15
  51. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 204
  52. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 393
  53. ^ (German) 13.468 – Parlamentarische Initiative – Ehe für alle
  54. ^ (Catalan) Proposició de llei qualificada de les unions civils i de modificació de la Llei qualificada del matrimoni de 30 de juny de 1995 i de la Llei 14/2004, de 3 de novembre, qualificada de modificació de la Llei qualificada de matrimoni
  55. ^ Same-Sex Civil Partnership Agreements in Greece
  56. ^ "Deputies to debate civil unions within the next year". Guernsey press. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  57. ^ Gay unions debate to reach Senate by January
  58. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 239
  59. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 314
  60. ^ (Italian) Atto Senato n. 1211
  61. ^ 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
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  64. ^ Church 'out of touch' as public supports equal rights for homosexuals, The Times, 27 June 2009
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  67. ^ (Italian) [1] Datamonitor, 7 January 2013
  68. ^ (Italian) Il Rapporto Italia 2013 | L'Italia del presentismo Eurispes, 31 January 2013
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  70. ^ "Yes to gay marriage and premarital sex: a nation strips off its conservative values". Irish Times. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  71. ^ Poll finds Irish support for gay marriage at 73%
  72. ^ Poll: Over half of Finns favour same-sex marriage law
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  75. ^ (Polish) Sondaż: Polacy przeciwko związkom partnerskim. [SONDAŻ TNS OBOP]
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