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 relationships
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
** Not yet in full effect Kansas and territories

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 3 of the 6 dependent territories in Europe recognize some type of same-sex unions, among them a majority of members of the European Union. Twelve European countries legally recognize same-sex marriage, namely Belgium, Denmark,[nb 1] Finland (effective 2017), 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.

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 Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Current situation[edit]

Marriage[edit]

Jurisdiction Entry into force Notes
[1] European UnionBelgium Belgium 1 June 2003
[2] European UnionDenmark Denmark 15 June 2012
[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]
[5] European UnionFrance France 18 May 2013 See Law 2013-404.
[6] Iceland Iceland 27 June 2010
[7] European UnionLuxembourg Luxembourg 1 January 2015
[8][9] European UnionMalta Malta 17 April 2014
  • Only a marriage performed abroad may be registered.
[10][11][12] European UnionNetherlands Netherlands 1 April 2001
[13] Norway Norway 1 January 2009
[14] European UnionPortugal Portugal 5 June 2010
[15] European UnionSpain Spain 3 July 2005
[16] European UnionSweden Sweden 1 May 2009
[17][18] European UnionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 13 March 2014

Non-marital partnership[edit]

Jurisdiction Entry into force Amended
(to the effect that a partnership
may not be registered
anymore)
Notes
[19] Andorra Andorra 23 March 2005
  • "Stable Union"
[20] 25 December 2014
  • "Civil Union"
[21] European UnionAustria Austria 1 January 2010
  • "Registered Partnership"
[22] European UnionBelgium Belgium 1 January 2000
  • "Legal Cohabitation"
[23] European UnionCroatia Croatia 5 August 2014
  • "Life Partnership"
[24] European UnionCzech Republic Czech Republic 1 July 2006
  • "Registered Partnership"
[2] European UnionDenmark Denmark 1 October 1989 15 June 2012
  • "Registered Partnership"
  • Partnerships registered domestically before 15 June 2012 and certain partnerships registered abroad are still recognized as such.
  • In Greenland the law came into force on 1 July 1996 and remains in effect until 1 October 2015.
  • It does not apply to the Faroe Islands.
[25] 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.
[26] European UnionFinland Finland 1 March 2002
  • "Registered Partnership"
[27] European UnionFrance France 16 November 1999
  • "Civil Solidarity Pact"
  • On 28 May 2009 the law's scope was expanded to include New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna.
  • It does not apply to French Polynesia.
[28] European UnionGermany Germany 1 August 2001
  • "Registered Life Partnership"
[29] European UnionGibraltar Gibraltar
(British Overseas Territory)
28 March 2014
  • "Civil Partnership"
[30] European UnionHungary Hungary 1 July 2009
  • "Registered Partnership"
[6] Iceland Iceland 27 June 1996 27 June 2010
  • "Registered Partnership"
  • Partnerships registered domestically before 27 June 2010 and certain partnerships registered abroad are still recognized as such.
[31] 27 June 2006
  • "Registered Cohabitation"
[32] European UnionRepublic of Ireland Ireland 1 January 2011
  • "Civil Partnership"
[33] Isle of Man Isle of Man
(British Crown Dependency)
6 April 2011
  • "Civil Partnership"
[34] Jersey Jersey
(British Crown Dependency)
2 April 2012
  • "Civil Partnership"
[35] Liechtenstein Liechtenstein 1 September 2011
  • "Registered Partnership"
[36] European UnionLuxembourg Luxembourg 1 November 2004
  • "Registered Partnership"
[37][38] European UnionMalta Malta 17 April 2014
  • "Civil Union"
[39][11] 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.
[13] Norway Norway 1 August 1993 1 January 2009
  • "Registered Partnership"
  • Partnerships registered domestically before 1 January 2009 and certain partnerships registered abroad are still recognized as such.
[40] European UnionSlovenia Slovenia 23 July 2006
  • "Registered Partnership"
European UnionSweden Sweden 1 January 1995 1 May 2009
  • "Registered Partnership"
  • Partnerships registered domestically before 1 May 2009 and certain partnerships registered abroad are still recognized as such.
[41] Switzerland Switzerland 1 January 2007
  • "Registered Partnership"
[42] European UnionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 5 December 2005
  • "Civil Partnership"

Unregistered cohabitation[edit]

Jurisdiction Entry into force Repealed Notes
[43] European UnionAustria Austria 2003-01-01 2003
[44] European UnionCroatia Croatia 2003-07-22 22 July 2003 5 August 2014
  • "Same-Sex Union"
[23] 2014-08-05 5 August 2014
  • "Informal Life Partnership"
[45] European UnionCzech Republic Czech Republic 2001-01-01 2001
[46][47][48] European UnionDenmark Denmark 1986-06-21 21 June 1986 1 October 1989
[49] European UnionFrance France 1999-11-16 16 November 1999
  • "Concubinage"
[50][51] European UnionHungary Hungary 1996-01-01 1996
[31] Iceland Iceland 2006-06-27 27 June 2006
  • "Cohabitation"
[32] European UnionRepublic of Ireland Ireland 2011-01-01 1 January 2011
  • "Relationship"
[52] European UnionNetherlands Netherlands 1979-01-01 1979
  • "Joint Household"
[53] Norway Norway 1991-01-01 1991
[54] European UnionPortugal Portugal 2001-01-01 2001
  • "De Facto Union"
[55] San Marino San Marino 2012-01-01 2012
[48][56] European UnionSpain Spain 1995-01-01 1 January 1995
[57][58][59] European UnionSweden Sweden 1988-01-01 1 January 1988
  • "Cohabiting Relationship"

Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage[edit]

Jurisdiction Entry into force
[60] Belarus Belarus 1994-01-01 1994
[61] European UnionBulgaria Bulgaria 1991-07-13 13 July 1991
[62][63] European UnionCroatia Croatia 2013-12-01 1 December 2013
[64][65] European UnionHungary Hungary 2012-01-01 1 January 2012
[66][67] European UnionLatvia Latvia 2006-06-16 16 June 2006
[68] European UnionLithuania Lithuania 1992-10-25 25 October 1992
[69] Moldova Moldova 1994-08-27 27 August 1994
[70] Montenegro Montenegro 2007-10-22 22 October 2007
[71] European UnionPoland Poland 1997-10-17 17 October 1997
[72] Serbia Serbia 2006-11-08 8 November 2006
[73] European UnionSlovakia Slovakia 2014-06-4 4 June 2014
[74] Ukraine Ukraine 1996-06-28 28 June 1996

Future legislation[edit]

Marriage[edit]

Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority[edit]

Greenland: A motion aiming for the adoption of parts[75] of Denmark's marriage law, had its first reading on 25 March 2015[76] and was approved unanimously on second reading held on 26 May 2015.[77] Since Denmark's 2012 marriage amendment law states that "the law shall not apply to the Faroe Islands and Greenland", Denmark has to pass a bill in order that the provisions of its current marriage law would be applicable to Greenland.[78] It is expected to come into effect on 1 October 2015.

Ireland: A bill to amend the constitution to the effect that "marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex" was approved by the parliament's lower house on 11 March 2015 and by its upper house on 27 March 2015. A referendum, as required by law, was held on 22 May 2015, approving the bill. It awaits the president's signature.[79] A bill to amend the marriage law is expected to be submitted to parliament in September 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.[80][81][82] 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.[83][84][85] 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.[86][87]

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.[88] The opposition party NEOS – The New Austria submitted a further 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.[89]

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.[90] 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.[91] 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.[92]

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.[93][94][95]

Slovenia: On 15 December 2014 members of the opposition party United Left introduced a bill into parliament. It had its first reading on 16 January 2015.[96] On 10 February 2015 the Committee on Labour, Family, Social Affairs and the Disabled recommended to approve the bill.[97] On 3 March 2015 the National Assembly passed the bill 51 votes to 28.[98] On 10 March 2015, the National Council rejected a motion to require the Assembly to vote on the bill again, in a 14-23 vote.[99] Opponents of the bill launched a petition for a referendum. After collecting 80,000 signatures, the petition was filed with the parliament on 10 March 2015.[100] On 26 March 2015, the National Assembly voted to block the referendum.[101] A request to review the constitutionality of the parliament's decision to block the referendum was filed with the constitutional court on 2 April 2015.

Switzerland: On 5 December 2013 the Green Liberal Party of Switzerland submitted a parliamentary initiative to the National Council, aiming for 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 to approve the proposal.[102] In March 2015, the Swiss Federal Council released a governmental report about a modernization of family law. It opens the possibility to repeal the current law on registered partnerships and to establish a new gender-neutral form of partnership registration, modelled on the French civil solidarity pact, as well as marriage for same-sex couples.[103] The Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga in charge of the Federal Department of Justice and Police also stated she hoped personally that gay and lesbian couples would soon be allowed to marry.[104]

Non-marital partnership[edit]

Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority[edit]

Cyprus: On 6 May 2015, the Cypriot Cabinet approved a gender-neutral civil cohabitation bill which provides for most of the rights of marriage. It had its first reading on 18 June 2015 and is expected to have its second reading on 9 July 2015.[105]

Greece: On 9 February 2015, the SYRIZA-led coalition government, sworn in on 27 January 2015, has promised to extend cohabitation agreements to same-sex couples.[106][107] On 24 April 2015, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice announced the government's intention to bring a bill before Parliament within two months.[108] Shortly after the announcement, a committee was formed to study the issue and draft a bill by 15 June 2015.[109] The bill was published on 10 June 2015.

Opposition proposals or proposals without a parliamentary majority[edit]

Italy: On 26 March 2015, the Senate's Judiciary Committee approved a bill, proposed by Senator Monica Cirinnà from the Democratic Party, that would establish same-sex civil unions and gender-neutral cohabitation agreements.[110]

Romania: On March 31, 2015, a civil partnership bill submitted by Green Party MP Remus Cernea was rejected by the Senate with 49 votes in favor of rejection, 8 against and 3 abstains.[111] The bill now heads to the Chamber of Deputies.

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.[112]

Same-sex marriage ban[edit]

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.[113] However, it also needs another parliamentary vote and presidential approval to become law.[114]

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%).[115] However, other polls have also placed Germany and France between 54% to 65%,[116] the UK at 61%.[117]

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.[118] In 2008 58% of the Norwegian voters supported the Marriage Act, which was introduced in the same year, and 31 percent were against it.[119] In January 2013 54.1% of Italians respondents supported same-sex marriage[120] In a late January 2013 survey 77.2% of Italians respondents supported the recognition of same-sex unions.[121]

In Ireland, a 2008 survey revealed 84% of people supported civil unions for same-sex couples (and 58% for same-sex marriage),[122] while a 2010 survey showed 67% supported same-sex marriage[123] by 2012 this figure had risen to 73% in support.[124] 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.[125]

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.[126]

In Poland a 2013 public poll revealed that 70% of Poles reject the idea of registered partnerships.[127] Another survey in February 2013 revealed that 55% were against and 38% of Poles support the idea of registered partnerships for same-sex couples.[128]

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.[115]

Opinion polls[edit]

Opinion polls for same-sex marriage
Country Pollster Year For Against Don't Know/Neutral/No answer/Other
European Union Austria Market/ORF 2014 73%[129][130] 24%[129][130] 3%[129][130]
European Union Belgium Ipsos 2015 69%[131] 31% -
European Union Bulgaria Eurobarometer 2006 15%[132] 65%[132] 20%[132]
European Union Croatia Pilar's barometer 2014 17%[133] 61%[133] 1% – no answer; 21% – Neutral[133]
European Union Cyprus SIGMALIVE 2014 36.7%[134] 56.8%[134] 6.5%[134]
European Union Czech Republic CVVM 2015 49%[135] 47%[135] 4%[135]
European Union Denmark YouGov 2012 79%[136] 16%[136] 6%[136]
European Union Estonia ASi 2012 34%[137] 60%[137] 6%
European Union Finland Taloustutkimus 2014 65%[138] 27%[138] 8%
European Union France Ipsos 2015 53%[131] 47% -
European Union Germany Ipsos 2015 68%[131] 32% -
European Union Greece Focus Bari 2015 56%[139] 35%[139] 9%[139]
European Union Hungary Ipsos 2015 31%[131] 69% -
European Union Ireland Ipsos 2015 66%[131] 34% -
European Union Italy Piepoli 2015 51%[140] 41%[140] 8%[140]
European Union Latvia Eurobarometer 2006 12%[132] 77%[132] 7%[132]
European Union Lithuania RAIT 2014 8%[141] 82%[141] 10%[141]
European Union Luxembourg Politmonitor 2013 82%[142] 17%[142] 1%[142]
European Union Malta MaltaToday 2012 46%[143] 51%[143] 3%
European Union Netherlands Ifop 2013 85%[144] 15% -
 Norway Ipsos 2013 78%[145] 17%[145] 4%[145]
European Union Poland Ipsos 2015 21%[131] 79% -
European Union Portugal Eurosondagem 2010 52%[146] 43%[146] 5%[146]
European Union Romania Eurobarometer 2006 11%[132] 79%[132] 10%[132]
 Russia Ipsos 2015 11%[131] 89% -
European Union Slovakia Eurobarometer 2006 19%[132] 81%[132] 0%[132]
European Union Slovenia Delo 2015 59%[147] 37%[147] 4%[147]
European Union Spain Ipsos 2015 77%[131] 23% -
European Union Sweden Ipsos 2015 74%'[131] 26% -
  Switzerland Ifop 2013 63%[144] 37% -
 Ukraine Gay Alliance of Ukraine 2013 9%[148] 62%[148] 12%
17% would allow some exceptions.[148]
European Union United Kingdom Ipsos 2015 67%[131] 33% -

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Excluding the Faroe Islands.
  2. ^ Excluding Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
  3. ^ Excluding Northern Ireland, Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.

References[edit]

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  77. ^ (Danish) [3]
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