EU’s top court rules in favor of same-sex couples in residence rights case

The European Court of Justice, the European Union’s top court, ruled that married same-sex couples have the same residence rights as straight couples in Romania. The decision is landmark for LGBT+ rights in Europe.

“Although the Member States have the freedom whether or not to authorize marriage between persons of the same sex, they may not obstruct the freedom of residence of an EU citizen by refusing to grant his same-sex spouse, a national of a country that is not an EU Member State, a derived right of residence in their territory,” the court said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

The case began in 2012 when Romanian LGBT+ activist Adrian Coman and his American partner attempted to relocate to Romania from Belgium, where they had originally obtained a marriage certificate. Romanian immigration officials refused to recognize their marriage, and ultimately the couple sued under EU law. Although homosexuality was decriminalized in Romania in 2010, discrimination against LGBT+ people remains common.

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