In a lively European Parliament debate, Euro-MPs have demanded that the European Commission should forcefully push all EU member states to fully recognise same-sex partnerships (registered and married) contracted in another EU country. MEPs are critical of what they see as the Commission's slowness to enforce EU free movement rights for LGBT couples.
Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford is Vice Chair of the Liberal Democrat LGBT group (Delga) and an active member of the European Parliament lesbian & gay rights intergroup. The EP debate came in the run-up to the Lib Dem party conference which will debate a call for equal marriage rights.
Sarah said: "Gay or lesbian couples can be in a civil partnership here in the UK - or married under for example Dutch law and hopefully soon under UK law - but find themselves treated as 2 singles when they move to another EU country. This means not being recognised as a family and forced to forfeit many legal and tax advantages."
"This unacceptably unequal treatment of same-sex couples certainly breaches existing EU non-discrimination and free movement rules, although the legal regime itself needs tightening to give EU states no possible let-out."
"The European Commission's fundamental rights Commissioner, Vice-President Vivian Reding, has confirmed that existing European law is being broken. In which case why is she not enforcing it by taking EU states to court under infringement proceedings? Mrs Reding needs to go further too, and put forward comprehensive proposals for 'mutual recognition' of same-sex civil partnerships and marriages."
"I have lost patience with the hesitation and prevarication experienced from Brussels so far. The European Commission needs to cease being the meek lamb and start playing wolf on LGBT rights in the EU."
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