European Union: Respect our love

TO: Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Mr. Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament

Same-sex couples and LGBT+ families who decide to live in countries like Bulgaria don't have any form of legal recognition of their families.

We urge you to make sure same-sex families are respected and treated equally under the principle of freedom of movement across the EU.

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What is this campaign trying to achieve?

Many families in the European Union stop being considered families the moment they set foot in a different country. The reason is simple: while the EU allows married couples to move and reside freely inside its territory, that rule doesn't apply to same-sex couples. If a legally married same-sex couple moves to an EU country that doesn't recognise same-sex marriages or registered partnerships, they are automatically stripped of their rights as a married couple, which puts them - and their children - in a very vulnerable and dangerous situation. This campaign is asking the EU to fix that.

What kind of rights do same-sex couples lose by moving to a country in the EU that doesn't recognise them as a family?

They lose several rights. For example, one or both of them are often no longer recognised as parents to their children. Also, if one of them is not from the EU, they can't request a residency permit - as they would be able to if they were a married straight couple.

Does that mean approving marriage equality in all of the EU at once?

No, EU institutions can't "approve" marriage equality anywhere. It does have the power however to ensure "freedom of movement" for all its citizens - which is a basic principle of the EU.

What does "freedom of movement" mean in the EU?

Freedom of movement" is one of the basic rights of EU citizens. It means that "every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States", and that that right should also be granted to their family members, irrespective of nationality. The main piece of EU legislation on this is the Directive 2004/38/EC.

Are there EU countries where same-sex marriage is illegal?

Yes, there are six countries in the EU that don't recognise same-sex marriages or registered partnerships: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. That's also the case in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.

How does this apply to the UK after Brexit?

For now, the UK still has to comply with the EU principle of "freedom of movement". Things might change in the near future, but it's still unclear how.

This campaign is being run in conjunction with Bilitis Resource Center FoundationYouth LGBT organization DeystvieGLAS-Bulgaria FoundationMarginalia Human Rights Online Platform, and The Center for the Study of Democracy.

Published: 06 November 2018

This is a campaign of the All Out Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization.