LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Exhibition about same-sex families in the heart of the European Commission to mark IDAHO

Today is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. This year ILGA-Europe highlights the issues of same-sex families and the legal obstacles that they face due to the lack of legal recognition in Europe. For this purpose, between 10 and 20 May, ILGA-Europe is hosting its Different Families, Same Love exhibition in the main building of the European Commission in Brussels, the Berlaymont. The exhibition is taking place under the patronage of Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

Today, between 12:00 and 13:00, ILGA-Europe will also host a reception in Berlaymont to put a spotlight on the key message of the exhibition and to mark IDAHO. Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, Director for Equality in Directorate General Justice and Evelyne Paradis , Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, will address participants at the reception.

At the event, ILGA-Europe will be launching its video “Legal jungle: same-sex families trapped between EU countries”. This 10-minutes video explains a key obstacle for same-sex families and their children – their lack of recognition between different EU countries.

Currently even the countries which legally recognise same-sex families and their children do not necessarily recognise similar families of same-sex couples from other EU countries. However, all EU countries automatically recognise each other different sex marriages. ILGA-Europe considers this to be a case of direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and calls for the European Commission to remedy such discrimination by introducing legal measures to facilitate the mutual recognition of all civil documents across the EU.

Linda Freimane, Co-Chairs of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board: said:

“It is a very symbolic that our exhibition, which highlights the discrimination and problems that same-sex families and their children in Europe experience because they are not legally recognised, is being hosted in the very heart of the EU law-making institution. The European Union is not only about the common market and economic growth. The European Union also holds its citizens and their welfare and wellbeing at the heart of its values and aims. Therefore it is paramount that the very institution that has a power to initiate new legislation, hears directly from people who are currently being discriminated against and face unjust hardship.”

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co –Chair of ILGA-Europe, added:

“The European Commission just finished a consultation on the issue of mutual recognition of all civil documents across the EU and ILGA-Europe made a clear point, that marriage, civil partnership between the persons of the same-sex as well as legal links with their children must be recognised across the European Union. We sincerely hope that our proposals will be fully considered and incorporated in the European Commission’s proposals that are expected in 2013.”