Same-sex Parents and Their Children Must be Recognised as a Family Across EU - Court Rules
The EU's top court has ruled that same-sex parents and their children must be recognised as a family in all member states including Ireland.
In a landmark ruling on Tuesday, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) said that if one country acknowledges a parental relationship with a child, then every member state should do the same in order to guarantee the child's right to free movement.
Denise Flood is the Portobello Institute College Director with extensive experience in Early Childhood Education, child protection and welfare and background with An Garda Síochána.
“We are delighted with the heart-warming news from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) that same-sex parents and children must be recognised as a family in all EU member states.
“Early Years practitioners are aware that families come in all shapes and sizes and this ruling is a celebration of the diversity in the family make up and dynamics in Irish society today,” she said.
Arpi Avetisyan, head of litigation at NGO ILGA-Europe said this ruling has brought “long-awaited clarification that parenthood established in one EU Member State cannot be discarded by another.
"This is a true testament to the EU being a union of equality and we look forward to seeing rainbow families enjoying their right to freedom of movement and other fundamental rights on equal footing to anyone else,” she said.
The case cannot be appealed.
Background to the CJEU Case
The case came before the court after Bulgarian authorities refused to give a birth certificate to the new-born daughter of a same-sex couple on the basis that a child cannot have two mothers.
Bulgarian Kalina Ivanova and British Gibraltar-born Jane Jones are both registered as the mothers of Sara, who was born in Spain in 2019.
But neither parent is of Spanish descent, meaning citizenship in that country is not allowed and under the British Nationality Act of 1981, Jones cannot transfer British citizenship to her daughter as she was born in Gibraltar.
On this basis, Ivanova requested Bulgarian citizenship for her child, which was subsequently rejected since same-sex marriages and partnerships and not legally recognised in Bulgaria.
As a result, Sara was left at risk of statelessness, with no access to citizenship, unable to leave her family’s country of residence, Spain, as well as no personal documents, therefore, limiting her access to education, healthcare and social security.