Recognition of same-sex unions in Europe

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Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Marriage
  Foreign marriages recognized
  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 unions
Marriage
Performed
Recognized
  1. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage
  2. When performed in the Netherlands proper

* 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 28 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. As of June 2016, thirteen European countries legally recognize and perform same-sex marriage, namely Belgium, Denmark,[nb 1] Finland (effective from 2017), France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,[nb 2] Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.[nb 3] Twenty-one European countries legally recognize some form of civil union, namely Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France,[nb 4] Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands,[nb 2] Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.[nb 5] San Marino only allows immigration and cohabitation of a citizen's partner. Several countries are currently considering same-sex union recognition.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in several European countries and in addition marriage is defined as a union solely between a man and a woman in the constitutions of Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

On 21 July 2015 the European Court of Human Rights found Italy to be in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights in the case of Oliari and others v. Italy.[1] The decision set a precedent for potential future cases regarding the 23 member states, certain British, Danish and Dutch territories, and the states with limited recognition (excluding Kosovo), that currently do not recognise same-sex couples' right to family life.

Current situation[edit]

National level[edit]

Status Country Since Country population living in Europe
(Last Census count)
Marriage
(13 countries)
* In eight countries that have passed marriage,
other types of partnerships are available, too.
Belgium Belgium 2003[2] 11,198,638
Denmark Denmark[nb 1] 2012[3] 5,655,750
Finland Finland 2017 [4] 5,470,820
France France 2013[5] 66,030,000
Iceland Iceland 2010[6] 325,671
Republic of Ireland Ireland 2015[7] 4,609,600
Luxembourg Luxembourg 2015[8] 549,680
Netherlands Netherlands[nb 2] 2001[9][10] 16,856,620
Norway Norway 2009[11] 5,136,700
Portugal Portugal 2010[12] 10,427,301
Spain Spain 2005[13] 46,704,314
Sweden Sweden 2009[14] 9,716,962
United Kingdom United Kingdom[nb 3] 2014[15][16] 62,700,000[nb 6]
Subtotal 245,382,279
(28.9% of the European population)
Recognition of foreign marriage
(1 country)
Malta Malta[nb 7] 2014[17][18] 446,547
Subtotal 446,547
(0.05% of the European population)
Other type of partnership
(13 countries)
* In one of the countries that have passed other types of partnerships,
yet another type of partnership is available, too.
Andorra Andorra 2014[19] 85,082
Austria Austria 2010[20] 8,504,850
Croatia Croatia 2014[21] 4,284,889
Czech Republic Czech Republic 2006[22] 10,513,209
Cyprus Cyprus[nb 8] 2015[23] 1,117,000[nb 9]
Estonia Estonia 2016[24] 1,315,819
Germany Germany 2001[25] 80,716,000
Greece Greece 2015[26] 10,816,286
Hungary Hungary 2009[27] 9,877,365
Italy Italy 2016[28] 60,782,668
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein 2011[29] 37,132
Slovenia Slovenia 2006[30] 2,061,085
Switzerland Switzerland 2007[31] 8,183,800
Subtotal 198,295,185
(22.8% of the European population)
Unregistered cohabitation
(1 country)
San Marino San Marino 2012[32] 32,576
Subtotal 32,576
(.003% of the European population)
Total 443,039,377
(52.18% of the European population)
No recognition
(11 countries)
Albania Albania 3,020,209
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 9,494,600
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,871,643
Georgia (country) Georgia 4,935,880
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 17,948,816
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia 2,058,539
Monaco Monaco 36,371
Romania Romania 19,942,642
Russia Russia 143,700,000
Turkey Turkey 76,667,864
Vatican City Vatican City 842
Subtotal 281,677,406
(37.94% of the European population)
Constitutional ban on marriage
(13 countries)
* In two countries that constitutionally ban same-sex marriage,
other types of partnerships are available, too.
Armenia Armenia 2015[33] 3,018,854
Belarus Belarus 1994 [34] 9,475,100
Bulgaria Bulgaria 1991[35] 7,364,570
Croatia Croatia 2013[36][37] 4,284,889
Hungary Hungary 2012[38][39] 9,877,365
Latvia Latvia 2006[40][41] 1,990,300
Lithuania Lithuania 1992[42] 2,944,459
Moldova Moldova 1994[43] 3,557,600
Montenegro Montenegro 2007[44] 647,905
Poland Poland 1997[45] 38,483,957
Serbia Serbia 2006[46] 7,209,764
Slovakia Slovakia 2014[47][48] 5,415,949
Ukraine Ukraine 1996[49] 44,291,413
Subtotal 138,562,125
(18.66% of the European population)
Total 406,077,277[nb 10]
(47.82% of the European population)

Sub-national level[edit]

Status Country Jurisdiction Legal since Jurisdiction population
(Last Census count)
Marriage
(1 jurisdiction)
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Isle of Man Isle of Man

2016[50]

84,497
Total 84,497
(0.01% of the European population)
Other type of partnership
(3 jurisdictions)
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
Jersey Jersey
Gibraltar Gibraltar

2005[51]
2012[52]
2014[53]

1,927,858

(Combined population)

Total 1,927,858
(0.22% of the European population)
No recognition
(2 jurisdictions)
Denmark Denmark Faroe Islands Faroe Islands 49,709
United Kingdom United Kingdom Guernsey Guernsey 65,345
Total 115,054
(0.01% of the European population)

Future legislation[edit]

Marriage[edit]

Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority[edit]

Faroe Islands Faroe Islands: A same-sex marriage bill was approved in final reading in the Faroese Parliament on 29 April 2016 by a 19-14 vote.[54] It will now be sent to the Danish Parliament for ratification through three readings and Royal Assent.

Guernsey Guernsey: On 21 September 2016, the States of Guernsey approved the bill to legalize same-sex marriage, in a 33-5 vote. It awaits Royal Assent in the Privy Council.[55][56]

Jersey Jersey: On 14 July 2015 the Chief Minister submitted a proposal to parliament. The States were asked to decide whether they agree, in principle, that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. The proposition was approved by the Assembly on 22 September 2015.[57] Legislation to bring the law into effect is scheduled for introduction by January 2017.[58]

Gibraltar Gibraltar: On 22 December 2015, the Government published a Command Paper on introducing same-sex marriage, which was put under a consultation process that lasted until 29 January 2016.[59][60][61][62][63][64] On 21 March 2016, the Government announced that it would establish an 'Inter-Ministerial Committee' to further gather more in-depth responses from the public and report its findings back to Cabinet by June 2016.[65][66] A Government bill to legalise same-sex marriage was published on 15 August 2016.[67]

Opposition proposals or proposals without a parliamentary majority[edit]

Austria Austria: The opposition party NEOS – The New Austria submitted a bill to the National Council on 12 June 2014. On 24 September 2014 it had its first reading and was sent to the Judiciary Committee.[68] A people's initiative was submitted to the National Council on 5 August 2015 and sent to the Petition and People's Initiative Committee on 8 August 2015.[69]

Germany 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.[70]
On 5 June 2015 the states of Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia submitted a bill to the Federal Council. On 12 June 2015 it had its first reading and was sent to the committees. It was approved on second reading and sent to the Federal Diet on 25 September 2015.[71]
The opposition party Alliance '90/The Greens submitted a further bill to the Federal Diet on 10 June 2015. It had its first reading on 18 June 2015.[72]

Italy 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.[73][74][75]

Switzerland Switzerland: On 5 December 2013 the Green Liberal Party of Switzerland submitted a parliamentary initiative to the National Council, proposing a constitutional amendment allowing couples to enter into a marriage or civil union irrespective of sex and sexual orientation. On 20 February 2015 the lower house's Justice Committee recommended approval of the proposal.[76] On 1 September 2015, it was also approved by the upper house's Justice Committee, paving the way for a referendum on the constitutional amendment.[77]
In March 2015, the Swiss Federal Council released a governmental report on the modernization of family law. It suggests a repeal of the current law on registered partnerships, to be replaced by a new gender-neutral form of partnership registration, modelled on the French civil solidarity pact, as well as marriage for same-sex couples.[78] The Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, in charge of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, also stated that she hoped personally that gay and lesbian couples would soon be allowed to marry.[79]

Non-marital partnership[edit]

Opposition proposals or proposals without a parliamentary majority[edit]

San Marino San Marino: In March of 2016, two opposition parties, LabDem and the United Left, along with the main government party, the Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party, announced their own proposals to expand the rights of all unmarried cohabiting couples through a new partnership law. The junior coalition partner, the Party of Socialists and Democrats, has also announced an intention to submit a fourth bill.[80]

Mutual recognition[edit]

European Union 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.[81]

Same-sex marriage ban[edit]

Republic of Macedonia Macedonia: On 21 January 2015, the Parliament of Macedonia overwhelmingly approved Amendment XXXIII to the Constitution of Macedonia, banning same-sex marriage, with 72 MPs voting for and 4 MPs voting against.[82] However, it also needs another parliamentary vote and presidential approval to become law.[83]

Public opinion[edit]

Public support for same-sex marriage from EU member states as measured from a 2015 poll is the greatest in the Netherlands (91%), Sweden (90%), Denmark (87%), Spain (84%), Ireland (80%), Belgium (77%), Luxembourg (75%), the United Kingdom (71%) and France (71%).[84] In recent years, support has risen most significantly in Malta, from 18% in 2006 to 65% in 2015 and in Ireland from 41% in 2006 to 80% in 2015.[85]

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.[86] In 2008 58% of the Norwegian voters supported the Marriage Act, which was introduced in the same year, and 31 percent were against it.[87] In January 2013 54.1% of Italians respondents supported same-sex marriage[88] In a late January 2013 survey 77.2% of Italians respondents supported the recognition of same-sex unions.[89]

In Greece support more than doubled between 2006 and 2015, albeit still considerably low. In 2006 15% responded that they agreed with same-sex marriages being allowed throughout Europe, whereas in 2015 33% agreed with the statement. [85]

In Ireland, a 2008 survey revealed 84% of people supported civil unions for same-sex couples (and 58% for same-sex marriage),[90] while a 2010 survey showed 67% supported same-sex marriage[91] by 2012 this figure had risen to 73% in support.[92] On 22 May 2015, 62.1% of the electorate voted to enshrine same-sex marriage in the Irish constitution as equal to heterosexual marriage.

A March 2013 survey by Taloustutkimus found that 58% of Finns supported same-sex marriage.[93]

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.[94]

In Poland a 2013 public poll revealed that 70% of Poles reject the idea of registered partnerships.[95] Another survey in February 2013 revealed that 55% were against and 38% of Poles support the idea of registered partnerships for same-sex couples.[96]

In the European Union, support tends to be the lowest in Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Lithuania. 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.[85] In 2015, with 28 members, average support was at 61%.[84]

Opinion polls[edit]

Opinion polls for same-sex marriage
Country Pollster Year For Against Don't Know/Neutral/No answer/Other
 Albania NDI 2015 10%[97] 88%[97] 2%[97]
 Armenia Интеграция и развитие 2013 2%[98] 96%[98] 2%[98]
 Austria IMAS 2015 55%[99] 38%[99] 7%[99]
 Belarus NAS 2015 4.5%[100] 86.6%[100] 8.8%[100]
 Belgium Eurobarometer 2015 77%[101] 20%[101] 3%[101]
 Bosnia and Herzegovina NDI 2015 10%[97] 88%[97] 2%[97]
 Bulgaria Eurobarometer 2015 17%[101] 68%[101] 15%[101]
 Croatia Eurobarometer 2015 37%[101] 54%[101] 9%[101]
 Cyprus Eurobarometer 2015 37%[101] 56%[101] 7%[101]
 Czech Republic CVVM 2016 51%[102] 43%[102] 6%[102]
 Denmark Eurobarometer 2015 87%[101] 9%[101] 4%[101]
 Estonia Eurobarometer 2015 31%[101] 58%[101] 11%[101]
 Finland Eurobarometer 2015 66%[101] 28%[101] 6%[101]
 France BVA 2015 67%[103] 31%[101] 2%[101]
 Georgia NDI 2012 6%[104] 89%[104] 4%[104]
 Germany YouGov 2016 68%[105] 24%[101] 8%[101]
 Greece dianeosis 2016 36%[106] 59% 4%[106]
 Hungary Eurobarometer 2015 39%[101] 53% 8%[101]
 Ireland Eurobarometer 2015 80%[101] 15%[101] 5%[101]
 Italy Demos & Pi 2016 56%[107] 40%[107] 4%[107]
 Kosovo NDI 2015 10%[97] 88%[97] 2%[97]
 Latvia Eurobarometer 2015 19%[101] 76%[101] 5%[101]
 Lithuania Eurobarometer 2015 24%[101] 71%[101] 5%[101]
 Luxembourg Eurobarometer 2015 75%[101] 20%[101] 5%[101]
 Macedonia NDI 2015 10%[97] 88%[97] 2%[97]
 Malta Eurobarometer 2015 65%[101] 29%[101] 6%[101]
 Moldova IPP 2014 5.9%[108] 87.2% 6.9%
 Montenegro NDI 2015 10%[97] 88%[97] 2%[97]
 Netherlands Eurobarometer 2015 91%[101] 7%[101] 2%[101]
 Norway Ipsos 2013 78%[109] 17%[109] 4%[109]
 Poland Eurobarometer 2015 28%[101] 61%[101] 11%[101]
 Portugal Eurobarometer 2015 61%[101] 33%[101] 6%[101]
 Romania Eurobarometer 2015 21%[101] 69%[101] 10%[101]
 Russia VTsIOM 2015 8%[110] 80% 12%
 Serbia NDI 2015 10%[97] 88%[97] 2%[97]
 Slovakia Eurobarometer 2015 24%[101] 69%[101] 7%[101]
 Slovenia Ninamedia 2015 38.3%[111] 49.5%[111] 12.2%[111]
 Spain Eurobarometer 2015 84%[101] 10%[101] 6%[101]
 Sweden Eurobarometer 2015 90%[101] 7%[101] 3%[101]
  Switzerland Ifop 2013 63%[112] 37% -
 Ukraine GfK Ukraine 2013 4.6%[113] 95.4% -
 United Kingdom YouGov 2016 56%[114] 27%[114] 17%[114]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Excluding the Faroe Islands.
  2. ^ a b c Excluding Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
  3. ^ a b Excluding Northern Ireland, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories (except Isle of Man and Pitcairn Islands which allow it).
  4. ^ Excluding French Polynesia.
  5. ^ Excluding Guernsey and Overseas Territories (except Gibraltar).
  6. ^ Combined population of England, Wales and Scotland.
  7. ^ Civil Unions, which provide everything but the name marriage, are also available.
  8. ^ Excluding the disputed region of Northern Cyprus.
  9. ^ Including the disputed region of Northern Cyprus.
  10. ^ Excluding Croatia and Hungary.

References[edit]

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