Constitutional Court asks EU Court of Justice for opinion in gay couple vs Romania case

Romania’s Constitutional Court (CCR) postponed again on Tuesday, November 29, a decision in the case of the Romanian Adrian Coman and the US-born Clay Hamilton, a gay couple who got married in Belgium and want to have their marriage recognized in Romania.

It is the fourth time when the court postpones a decision in this case. Valer Dorneanu, president of the Constitutional Court, said after the Court’s meeting on Tuesday that the CCR would ask for a point of view from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), under the demand of the parts.

As news of the referral reached Brussels, ILGA-Europe Advocacy Director Katrin Hugendubel commented “We know this isn’t the end of the journey for Adrian and his family – but we are edging ever closer to what could be a momentous day for them. Many couples, whose right to freely move and reside within the European Union have been limited by similar domestic restrictions, will also be eagerly awaiting the outcome of this case.”

The Constitutional Court will seek clarification on whether a same-sex couple, married overseas, can be recognized as spouses under Romanian law by way of application of the EU law on family reunification with a EU citizen. This is the first time that the Court has referred questions to the CJEU, according to the local human rights NGO Accept Romania.

Clay Hamilton can’t reside in Romania for more than three months because his marriage to Adrian Coman is not recognized in Romania. However, if their marriage were acknowledged by the Romanian state, Hamilton could remain in the country as a relative of a Romanian citizen.

Romania’s new Civil Code, which was introduced in 2011, prohibited the recognition of different types of families that are legally formed abroad.

However, the Constitution’s article 26 protects the right to a private and family life for all citizens.

In 2012 Adrian Coman launched the lawsuit against the Romanian state to have their marriage recognized so that he and his spouse could live together in the country. Read more about their case in this article: Love in the time of courts: Two men against the Romanian state.

Earlier this year, several NGOs, backed by the Romanian Orthodox Church, convinced 3 million people to sign a petition asking for a referendum to change the Constitution and define family as made of a man and a woman.

Some politicians wanted to have the referendum organized at the same time with the parliamentary elections on December 11. In the end, however, it was decided that the referendum should be organized sometime next year.

UPDATE: Social-democrats want to tie anti-gay referendum with parliamentary elections in Romania

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