On Monday, May 16, a court in Bulgaria ruled that the city officials in the capital Sofia should issue a birth cert with the name of both parents for a baby of a same-sex couple. Since marriage equality is not recognised in the country, the outcome of this landmark legal battle represents a big step for LGBTQ+ rights.
The baby, Sara, was born in 2019 in Spain to two lesbian mothers who are from Bulgaria and Gibraltar respectively. Because none of the mothers are Spanish, Sara was unable to obtain Spanish citizenship.
At the same time, because she was born in Spain, the Gibraltarian mother was unable to pass over her British citizenship to the child. The only possibility for Sara was to acquire Bulgarian citizenship.
However, when the parents requested the documents, the authorities in Bulgaria refused the request on the grounds that the baby would need a Bulgarian birth certificate, which couldn’t include the names of two same-sex people and should instead only list the biological mother.
Supreme Court in #Bulgaria has ruled in favour of the right of residency for the same-sex spouse of a Bulgarian citizen, in a landmark judgment issued on 24 July. The judgment in this case is final, and must now be implemented by the Ministry of Interior. https://t.co/psKVlpIGsC pic.twitter.com/spj7tWN2Gb
— ILGA-Europe (@ILGAEurope) July 29, 2019
In this situation, Sara was left without any documentation and virtually stateless, which hindered her ability to access healthcare, education, social security and also prevented her from leaving Spain, as she had no passport.
The case led to a landmark ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) last December, when the judges ruled that all member states were obliged to issue ID cards and passports to children born to same-sex parents.
Now, a court in Bulgaria has also ruled in favour of Sara, ordering city hall authorities to provide a birth certificate for the child that should contain the name of both her same-sex parents.
Denitsa Lyubenova, the couple’s lawyer in the case, described this decision as a “landmark [step] for the LGBTQ+ community”. She added: “After years of tireless work we have won a step in the fight for equality, after years of perseverance we have proven that we are right and that EU law treats citizens equally.”
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