ECHR ruling may pave way for registered same sex partnerships

THE EUROPEAN Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that same sex couples deserve equal rights, and Slovak human rights group argue that existing national law thus runs contrary to the ruling. 

(Source: SME)

The case Oliari and Others vs Italy concerned the complaint by three homosexual couples. They argued that under Italian legislation they do not have the possibility to get married or enter into any other type of civil union. The ECHR judges considered that the legal protection currently available to same-sex couples in Italy – as was shown by the applicants’ situation – did not only fail to provide for the core needs relevant to a couple in a stable committed relationship, but it was also not sufficiently reliable, according to the press release.

A civil union or registered partnership would be the most appropriate way for same-sex couples like the applicants to have their relationship legally recognised. ECHR pointed out, in particular, that there was a trend among Council of Europe member States towards legal recognition of same-sex couples – 24 out of the 47 member States having legislated in favour of such recognition – and that the Italian Constitutional Court had repeatedly called for such protection and recognition. Furthermore, according to recent surveys, a majority of the Italian population supported legal recognition of homosexual couples, the press release reads.

The laws in Slovakia also do not allow same-sex couples to get married or live in registered partnerships, the Denník N daily reported.

In the ruling issued in favour of the Italian couples, ECHR referred to the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly the right to respect for private and family life.

Since the convention applies also to Slovakia, these rights should also apply to Slovak couples, rights advocates say. Martin Macko of the Initiative Inakosť human rights organisation considers the ruling encouraging.

“It proves that the legal state in Slovakia is not in compliance with the European standards,” Macko told Denník N.

Moreover, Slovakia “violates the European Convention on Human Rights which it ratified in the same year as it was established”, reads the press release of the Life Partnership platform, which Initiative Inakosť is a member.

Despite the similar legal state the situation in Italy is different than in Slovakia. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said after the Irish referendum on same-sex marriages that the government cannot postpone the discussion over this topic any longer. It even has the adoption of registered partnerships in its programme statement. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has not said anything similar yet, Denník N wrote.

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