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All EU countries must recognise same-sex partnerships

October 9, 2008 2:21 PM

The European Parliament is urging member states to give EU-wide recognition to same-sex partnerships forged under the national law of any one of them in the same way as marriage. This would then allow those partners to take advantage of EU free movement laws to live anywhere in Europe, without forfeiting legal and tax advantages. London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, the party's European justice & human rights spokeswoman who is a persistent campaigner for equal rights, is strongly supporting the call. It comes in a declaration which if supported by half of MEPs demands a response from EU governments and the European Commission.

Sarah Ludford said: "Legislative changes which have enabled legal partnerships for same-sex couples have greatly improved the quality of life of many in the LGBT community. But free movement rights which are supposed to belong to all EU citizens remain a fiction for gay couples if they are regarded just as 2 single people abroad."

"The current system whereby EU states 'pick and choose' when to grant recognition is causing inexcusable havoc for gay couples trying to exercise their right to move. Even those with their own partnership laws refuse to recognise those of another state, for example France refuses to recognise a UK civil partnership as a PACS. It is intolerable when the surviving partner in an older same-sex couples who have purchased a home abroad has found they face a crippling inheritance tax burden at a

time of bereavement."

"The European Commission must act swiftly to end this anomaly of second-class status, and drag the member states into the modern world by proposing legislation for mutual recognition of same-sex partnership legislation."