EU residency rights also apply for gay couples

According to a ruling by the European Court of Justice citizens of non-EU countries who marry an EU citizen of the same sex have right of residency in the EU. A Romanian man who married a man with US citizenship in Belgium had filed a complaint because Romania had refused to grant his spouse a residency permit on the grounds that the country does not recognise same-sex marriages. This backwards stance is a luxury Romania can no longer afford, commentators note jubilantly.

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Radio Europa Liberă (RO) /

Strengthen the rights of Romanian gays

The Luxembourg ruling must lead to equal rights for gay couples living in Romania because if it doesn't they could feel discriminated, writes Radio Europa Liberă:

“The problem is that at the moment the decision of the European judges puts same-sex couples who got married outside Romania, and of whom one of the partners comes from a non-EU state, at an advantage compared to gay Romanian couples. ... From a certain perspective this is a kind of discrimination if not actual inequality before the law, which in turn would violate Romania's constitution. The solution would be for the judges of the constitutional court in Bucharest to balance this out by proposing the introduction of registered partnerships so that homosexual couples in Romania enjoy the same protection provided by the state as heterosexual couples.”

El Mundo (ES) /

A lesson for backward EU members

On the issue of same-sex marriages Romania is one of a handful of backward EU member states that should see this ruling as a lesson, writes El Mundo:

“When the European Court of Justice speaks, not only do the member states listen, they obey. And ideally they realise that their national legislation is behind that of the club of which they are members. ... This is clearly a battle won in the war for equal rights for the LGBT community. Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Poland are the last EU members that still don't provide for any kind of legal union between homosexuals. A common political space is also a community of values.”

Evenimentul Zilei (RO) /

Which couples lose out

Gay marriage is a hotly debated issue in Romania. Conservatives are even pushing for a ban against same-sex marriages in the constitution. Against this backdrop the ruling from Luxembourg will be particularly contentious, Evenimentul Zilei comments:

“If the passage on 'man and woman' is added to the definition of marriage in the constitution it will represent clear discrimination against a gay Romanian couple whose marriage is rejected at the civil registry and a couple [a Romanian and a non-EU citizen] that marries abroad and then later has the marriage registered in Romania. ... The ECJ judges are not recommending that Romanian law be changed to recognise same-sex marriages. But they do say that something must be done so that the term 'spouse' can also apply to people of the same sex, and so that they at least benefit from the freedom of movement in Europe and the right of residence in Romania.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Ruling is a chance for Eastern Europe

This is a ruling that sends a signal to all of Central and Eastern Europe where gay marriages are still not recognised in many places, comments LGBT activist Vlad Viski on his blog with the daily paper Adevărul:

“Eastern Europe must take decisive steps and at least introduce registered partnerships to show that it takes European values seriously. ... The ruling will give politicians another headache but it also offers a great justification for introducing the partnerships. The old song 'Europe is forcing us to do it' makes it possible for them to grant the LGBT community rights without having to tangle with the conservative groups.”