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European Parliament says all couples should have same legal options around divorce

The European Parliament voted Tuesday to say couples in registered partnerships should have the same legal options in terms of property rights as married couples if their relationship ends
The Strasbourg Hemicycle of the European Parliament
Photo by J Logan

The European Parliament has passed resolutions urging that couples in registered relationships have the same legal options as those as married couples if the couple move countries in an overwhelming vote.

Last year the European Commission proposed draft laws that aimed to simplify the way a couple would split their assets, due to death or divorce, between European member states.

The regulations mean that married spouses who moved to another European country would have been able to choose which national law most suited them when dividing their assets.

But registered partners would have had to adhere to the national law of whatever country their relationship had been registered in.

Bruno Selun, secretary to the LGBT Intergroup, spoke to Gay Star News about how the original proposal would have overwhelmingly disadvantaged same-sex couples.

‘The European Commission cannot differentiate between couples of certain sexual orientations. However, the majority of these spouses would be straight whereas the majority of the registered partners would be gay or lesbian’ he said.

Alexandra Thein, a German MEP with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and member of the LGBT Intergroup, spoke about the importance of ensuring reform on the issue

‘This sends a very important signal - married couples and registered partners, regardless of their gender, must be able to enjoy the same freedom of movement across the European Union,’ Thein said.

British Labour MEP Michael Cashman and Evelyne Gebhardt, a German MEP with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats - both from the Civil Liberties committee - said they hoped the European Parliament’s Council of Ministers would amend the draft legislation to reflect the resolutions.

‘The Civil Liberties Committee had made a point that all couples should enjoy the same rights,’ they said.

‘We now hope the Council will listen to Parliament’s requests.’

However even if the draft legislation is changed to reflect the resolution it is up to individual member states to decide whether they want to adopt these changes, which will also not apply in the United Kingdom, Denmark or Ireland.

In addition, people in registered partners will not be able to choose to have their affairs settled under the legal system of an EU member state whose law does not recognize registered partnerships.

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