Volume 12 (2004) / Issue 5
same-sex partners, marriage, free movement, family law
Abstract: Recent years have witnessed significant reforms of national family law in respect of same-sex couples. There is a clear trend in Europe towards granting legal recognition to same-sex couples, although there is considerable diversity between the types of legal status being afforded. This article examines some of the spillover effects for European Union law arising from these national legal developments. The cross-border challenges were exemplified during the negotiation of the recently adopted Directive on the Free Movement of EU Citizens. In particular, the definition of the family of an EU citizen proved to be highly divisive. Currently, questions relating to the cross-border recognition of different family statuses fall to national legislation and the principles of private international law. Given the nexus with free movement and the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, there appears a need for the European Union to contribute to a better coordination of same-sex partnership laws.
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