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Final Decision by the ECHR: Romania is obliged to recognize and protect same-sex families

Final Decision by the ECHR: Romania is obliged to recognize and protect same-sex families

Image source: © Canva
Materiały Prasowe,
26.09.2023 15:14

Romania has been obliged by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to legally recognize and protect families formed by same-sex couples, as reported by ACCEPT.

The obligation of our country to protect and recognize same-sex families has been reaffirmed by the Grand Chamber of Judges, which rejected the appeal filed by the Romanian Government in the case of Buhuceanu and Ciobotaru, along with 20 other families against Romania, stated ACCEPT representatives in a press release on September 26.

Thus, the ECHR ruling from May of this year remains final, as does the positive obligation of the Romanian Government and Parliament to adopt urgent measures to ensure the legal protection and recognition of all families, as indicated by the source.

"There are no more ways for the state to evade its obligations towards its citizens. It is time for Romania to take the natural step that the majority of the population declares itself ready for.

Tens of thousands of Romanians have confidently awaited the conclusion of the Grand Chamber of Judges, made up of representatives from the member states, after the Government decided to postpone the implementation of the ECHR ruling, which found it guilty of violating Article 8 of the European Convention, concerning family life.

The declaration of inadmissibility of the appeal was not long in coming, given the clarity and acceptance of the European values by the vast majority of member states. Nevertheless, the reality shows that every day that Romania delayed taking action brought real harm to same-sex couples", the press release of ACCEPT Romania states.

"The treatment the state subjects them to is unworthy and deeply condemnable"

The Romanian government's stance on this pressing issue affecting LGBT families is a clear demonstration of neglect, impacting various aspects of Romania, as noted by the source.

Apart from disregarding the commitments Romania made to its European partners through various conventions and treaties, the ongoing suffering resulting from the lack of legislation ensuring the protection and legal recognition of same-sex families falls on the shoulders of Romanian citizens.

The treatment the state subjects them to is unworthy and deeply condemnable. Despite forming families based on love and mutual respect and fulfilling all obligations and duties to the state, LGBT individuals are condemned to invisibility and insecurity in the absence of laws adapted to social realities.

They cannot visit each other in the hospital, cannot inherit the property they have obtained together throughout their lives and cannot benefit from the health insurance of their partner if the other partner does not have a source of income", according to the press release of ACCEPT.

The representatives of ACCEPT added that, more than anything, an important part of the exodus that Romania is currently experiencing is the result of the state's attitude towards human rights, and many Romanians have decided to leave the country in the last 30 years in order to start a family, leaving their parents behind.

"The Government and the Parliament of Romania have no excuse for their lack of action"

"The attempt by the Romanian state to delay once again the recognition and protection of our families has failed. There is absolutely no reason that could justify the continuation of legal discrimination in a democratic state. Our families are part of this society and must be treated equally and legally protected without delay!", Florin Buhuceanu and Victor Ciobotaru, one of the 21 families that sued Romania in the ECHR, explained.

The executive director of ACCEPT, Florina Presadă, stated that the Association will continue its efforts to obtain legal protection and recognition of LGBT families in Romania.

"The ACCEPT Association will persist in its efforts to secure the legal protection and recognition of LGBT families in Romania. The Romanian Government and Parliament have no excuse for their lack of action. We continue to invite LGBT families in Romania to join the movement to claim the right to establish legally recognized families in their own country. Whether they need legal representation or want to participate in national public campaigns, LGBT individuals can get involved in expediting procedures for the legal protection and recognition of all families", said Florina Presadă, according to the source.

"The shameful request of Romania to retry the procedure at the Grand Chamber of the ECHR in the case of the 21 families made up of same-sex individuals was REJECTED as inadmissible. It's time for the legal protection of LGBT families in Romania! The ECHR decision is final in the case of Buhuceanu & Ciobotaru and the other families and must be implemented by the Romanian state. Thanks to ACCEPT for their support!", wrote Florin Buhuceanu, the president of ACCEPT, on Facebook.

The Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) argues that civil partnerships legitimize the practice of living together without marriage

At the end of May, representatives of the Alliance for the Union of Romanians party (AUR) requested the government to appeal against the decision made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding marriages between individuals of the same sex. Furthermore, AUR urged the Executive to clearly express its position on this matter.

They also stated that if, within three months, the government refuses to contest the ECHR decision, then AUR will initiate the procedures for organizing a new referendum to redefine the family in the Constitution.

"The ECHR delivered a verdict that, it's important to note, doesn't impose an obligation, as it's not within anyone's power to compel a sovereign state to modify its laws in this manner. Nonetheless, it condemns Romania for its failure to acknowledge, in any form, something that isn't a part of the Romanian culture. In Romania, free and consensual marriage is between a man and a woman. (...) Romania did not defend itself at the ECHR, it did not have a defense! We want to send a message to the Romanian Government, because it has a three-month deadline, to contest this decision and not apply the same ostrich policy when it comes to issues that involve the majority of Romanians", said AUR's President George Simion, according to a press release from the party.

On May 22, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Romania violated Article 8 of the Convention, namely the right to "respect for private and family life", for same-sex couples. The decision was made with five votes to two, in the case of Buhuceanu, Ciobotaru and 20 other families against Romania.

BOR expressed, after the ECHR decision from May 22, a reaction regarding civil partnerships, after the ECHR decided that Romania violated Article 8 of the Convention, namely the right to "respect for private and family life", for same-sex couples. According to the Romanian Orthodox Church, civil partnerships are "a real undermining of the assumption of full responsibility of the two spouses" and legalize cohabitation.

On October 6 and 7, 2018, a referendum was held to amend the Romanian Constitution, an initiative launched by the association Coalition for Family at the end of 2015. The referendum, supported by BOR, did not reach the required validation threshold.

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