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Same sex parents and their children will now be officially considered as a family

The Court of Justice of the European Union announced on 14 December 2021 that all 27 members of the European Union should now recognise same sex parents and their children as families.

The decision is historic and will be a major achievement for gay parents across the European Union. Indeed, we know that homoparental families are often mistreated and must face lots of additional administrative formalities and discrimination in their procedures.

At the centre of this small revolution there is Sara, a little girl born in Spain in 2019. On her birth certificate, the Spanish authorities recognised that her parents are both mothers. One of them is Bulgarian, the other British. They have both lived in Spain since 2015. The problem is that neither of her parents have Spanish nationality; therefore, she cannot be considered as Spanish. Her British mother was born in Gibraltar, and thus cannot transmit her nationality to Sara. Sara’s Bulgarian mother asked the Bulgarian government to give her daughter nationality; unfortunately, since the Bulgarian government refuses to recognise any homosexual relationship or marriage, she cannot be considered as Bulgarian. Moreover, the Bulgarian government replied by saying that there are no double “mother” boxes on their administrative papers, and thereby they cannot deliver an ID card to Sara. As a result, Sara is considered as stateless, which means that she has no access to any nationality, no personal papers and cannot leave Spain. In other words, she won’t be able to go to school, have access to health care or benefit from social security.

The EU considered this situation as unacceptable, unfair and revolting, and has decided to react to it. Thereby, the Court of Justice of the European Union has declared that since Spain has recognised the child-parent relationship by giving Sara a birth certificate, both parents “are recognized by all Member States as having the right, as parents of a minor for whom they are primarily responsible, to accompany this child when exercising his rights”. This decision protects the right to free movement of the child.

This major progress not only allows homoparentality to be recognised in Europe, but it also helps to protect the right to free movement of children and give them all the fundamental rights they deserve. There is still a long way to go until those rights are recognised everywhere. At the end of 2020, the European Commission proposed a bill for mutual recognition of the “rainbow” parenthood between all Member States. The initiative was acknowledged by the European Parliament in mid-September, which deplores and “strongly condemns” the blocking by certain leaders or governments of an equal treatment without distinction of sexual orientation.

Mathilde ROZE

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