Mutual recognition of partnerships and marriages no nearer

23 January 2011

Mutual recognition of partnerships and marriages no nearer

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong clashed with European Commissioner Viviane Reding during today’s debate on Lithuania’s proposed law against ‘the public promotion of homosexual relations’. If adopted, the Lithuanian law could lead to problems for the mutual recognition of partnerships and marriages of same-sex couples. ‘The Commissioner continues to confuse mutual recognition with family law,’ said De Jong. ‘Also, the SP is no supporter of the harmonisation of family law, but I want to be confident that if a same-sex couple has concluded a registered partnership or marriage in one member state, other member states will be obliged to recognise this status. So I’m also very disappointed that the Commissioner is still not willing to put some effort into this.´

Together with his Dutch colleague Sophie in ’t Veld of D66 and other Members, De Jong had called for a European Parliament plenary debate on the Lithuanian legislative proposals. The proposals demonstrate once more that homophobia remains a major problem within the European Union. Last September Commissioner Reding promised the European Parliament that she would write a reaction to the recent report on homophobia prepared by the EU’s human rights agency, but this promise has not been kept. “I would like to be able to assume that the Commissioner rejects homophobia,” said De Jong, “but in that case she must have the courage to report on the issue and not simply point us to the Commission’s human rights reporting.”

Although the Commission is in contact with the Lithuanian government and in general presents itself as being willing to give attention to discrimination within the member states, its commitments remain extremely vague. “I ask myself how often we in the European Parliament must engage the Commission in debate before they come forward with concrete proposals to make the free movement of same-sex couples within the European Union a reality. In addition I will continue, together with other Euro-MPs, to urge the adoption of a strategy by which LGBT communities and sympathisers are enabled to aid in the fight against homophobia.”

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