European Court of Justice rules member states must give ID cards to children of same-sex parents

This landmark ruling will provide vital protections for queer families across Europe.

An image of the flags at the European Court of Justice.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

As of Tuesday, December 14, the European Court of Justice has ruled that member states are obliged to give an ID card or passport to any child born to same-sex parents. This comes as a result of a case involving ‘Baby Sara’ who was born to two mothers, and whose Spanish birth certificate was declared invalid by Bulgarian authorities who do not recognise same-sex families. Because of this, Sara was left at risk of being stateless for many years.

With one of her parents being Bulgarian, and the other being British, The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of the child and her same-sex family, saying: “The Member State of which the child is a national is obliged to issue an identity card or passport to that child without requiring a birth certificate to be drawn up beforehand by its national authorities.

“It is also obliged to recognise the document from the host Member State that permits that child to exercise, with each of those two persons, the child’s right to move and reside freely within the territory of the European Union.”

Welcoming the ruling, Sara’s parents said: “We are thrilled about the decision and cannot wait to get Sara her documentation and finally be able to see our families after more than two years. It is important for us to be a family, not only in Spain but in any country in Europe and finally it might happen. This is a long-awaited step ahead for us but also a huge step for all LGBT families in Bulgaria and Europe.”

Rémy Bonny from the EU-advocacy group, Forbidden Colours, has declared the case “groundbreaking”.

“Over the last year, we have seen politicians from Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland trying to take away the basic right from LGBTIQ+ persons. This has a detrimental impact on the lives of millions of Europeans, including children,” he comments.

“It is heartwarming to see that the European Court of Justice rules that discrimination has no place within the EU legal order.”

Same-sex marriage is still illegal in Bulgaria, and in 2020, the country was ranked 37th out of 49 European countries by ILGA-Europe for LGBTQ+ rights. This new ruling will provide protections for countless same-sex couples in EU countries that do not support LGBTQ+ rights such as Bulgaria, Poland, and Hungary.

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