EU seeks to guarantee rights of same-sex parents and children across member states

If enacted, EU plans will ensure that the rights of same-sex parents and their children are recognised across all European countries.

Two same-sex parents holding a child, while the EU has proposed plans to have parenthood recognised in all states.
Image: Pexels - Karolina Grabowska

Yesterday, December 8, the European Commission announced plans to ensure the full cross-border recognition of parenthood, including of same-sex parents, across all member states of the European Union (EU).

The European Commission published a proposal for a Council Regulation that aims to guarantee the full recognition of parenthood for cross-border movement between member states. Such plans are particularly targeted at protecting the rights of same-sex parents and their children within the EU, where countries have different parenthood laws.

At present, differences in parenthood laws create complications for those families whose rights are recognised in one country but not others when they cross borders. The lack of recognition of parenthood can have negative consequences for same-sex parents, as their children may be deprived of the right to have one or both of their parents act as their legal representatives in childcare, education or health settings.

If the European Commission’s plans are enacted, they would set in stone that parenthood established in one of the member states must be recognised in all other countries in the EU. Although it would only apply to cases in which parenthood is already established by an EU country, the proposal could potentially benefit up to two million children, as estimated by the European Commission.

With its goal of protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ families, the initiative could potentially face the opposition of some EU countries like Hungary and Poland, which have recently passed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and are in open conflict with the EU institutions over the rights of queer people.

“Ensuring that children have their parents fully recognised when moving across the EU is an essential condition for their best interests and their fundamental rights.” said Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, Evelyne Paradis. “This proposed law is doing so, without impeding on the competence of member states to define a family and establish parenthood under their jurisprudence.”

“Having legal certainty on recognition will reduce serious concerns and problems that rainbow families face when travelling or moving in the EU.” Paradis added.

As Katrin Hugendubel, policy director at ILGA Europe, explained to Euronews, “If you’re not legally recognised as a parent you’re not allowed to travel with the child, allowed to cross a border. Kindergartens when picking up the children ask for a legal recognition that you’re a parent and also in emergency medical situations”.

“If you’re not recognised as the parent you’re not allowed to make important decisions about the medical treatment of the child or be allowed to stay with the child at the hospital.” Hugendubel continued. “So there are very real life problems and I would say really urgent problems that parents might face when going on holiday and making a decision on where to live.”

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.