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Romania recognises same-sex married couples in ruling but still no marriage equality

The country will recognise a couple if one is an EU citizen

By Steve Brown

Romania has recognised same-sex married couples in a historic ruling… but there is still a long way to go before marriage equality.

The Romanian Constitutional Court announced today (July 18) that the right of residence of same-sex married couples will be recognised as long as one of the members is an EU citizen.

Currently, Romania is one of the six EU countries that has no legislation relating to same-sex marriage or civil partnership and the issues was first brought to the attention of the European Court of Justice by a Romanian-American gay couple.

LGBT activist Adrian Coman and his partner Robert Claibourn Hamilton married in Belgium back in 2010 but when they tried to relocate to Romania two years after their nupitials, they were met with some problems.

As the country didn’t recognise their marriage, Hamilton could only stay in Romania for three months.

The couple then moved to America while going through several court hearings and their case eventually ended up going to the ECJ.

Last year, the ECJ ruled that EU countries could not obstruct the freedom of residence of an EU citizen by refusing to give residence rights to their non-EU same-sex partner.

They also ruled that Hamilton should be allowed to live in Romania with his husband and the ruling prompted the Romanian court to decide.

“We have recognized [it] in the spirit of the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union,” Valer Dorneanu, the president of the CCR, announced.

Vlad Viski, executive director of Romanian LGBTI advocacy group MozaiQ, said: “It is an important first step towards equality for the LGBTI community.

“We believe this decision to be a strong signal towards the main political parties that gay couples deserve full recognition under the law. Therefore we urge politicians to legalize civil unions,’ he said.

“While today’s decision does not go as far as to recognize gay marriages performed in an EU-member state, it gives the LGBTI community in Romania hope that things can change and the fight for equal recognition under the law must continue.”