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EU seeks cross-border recognition of same-sex parents

December 8, 2022

The European Commission wants to ensure that the rights of LGBTQ parents are recognized in all EU countries. But conservative EU member states are expected to push back.

A lesbian couple with their two children photographed in a playground in Zurich
The proposal hopes to make it easier for same-sex parents to move around the EUImage: Gaetan Bally/KEYSTONE/picture alliance

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed new regulations for the recognition of same-sex parents across the bloc. 

The proposal would oblige governments in the 27-member European Union to recognize the rights of LGBTQ parents granted in another country in the bloc. 

"We want to help all families and children in cross-border situations," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. 

"If you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in every country." 

What is the proposal?

The European Commission wants to create a so-called European Certificate of Parenthood to ensure that the rights granted to children to same-sex parents in one EU country are recognized across the bloc. 

This would prevent costly legal procedures over inheritance, for example, or decisions about education.

Currently, an estimated 2 million children across Europe could have their legal relationships with their parents denied in another EU country, said Didier Reynders, the EU's justice commissioner.

"This could be because the family has moved to a member state which will not recognize the parenthood previously established," Reynders added.

Reynders stressed that the Commission wasn't trying to change the legal definition of the family on a national level. 

The initiative is building on case law from the EU's top court, which ruled that parenthood recognized in one EU country applies in other member states, the Commission said.

What happens next?

The proposal requires support from all EU members to go into force. Conservative governments are expected to oppose it. 

According to a European Parliament report, 11 EU countries do not recognize same-sex couples as parents. 

Last year, the Court of Justice of the European Union ordered Bulgaria to grant the daughter of a lesbian couple an identity document. The girl's mother is a Bulgarian citizen living in Spain.  

fb/rs (AFP, dpa) 

Two Fathers – Two Babies

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