The past years have highlighted some significant legal breakthroughs regarding the protection of rainbow families on the move in the EU, including the Coman and V.M.A cases and the introduction of a proposed European Commission’s regulation on mutual parenthood recognition. The Equinet Cluster on Rainbow Families on the Move has developed a Report on Equality Bodies protecting the rights of Rainbow Families on the Move to trace an overview of the current legal framework on the protection of rights and freedoms of same-sex couples and their children in cross-border situations, with particular attention to the role that Equality Bodies can play.
As highlighted in the report, the issue of cross-border recognition of parenthood is clearly an equality issue as it directly concerns the fundamental right of individuals and families to non-discrimination. The lack of mutual recognition of parenthood between Member States disproportionately affects parents identified with non-heteronormative sexual orientation. It affects their children’s best interests, violating, for instance, their rights to personal identity, inheritance, health care, freedom of movement and beyond.
Firstly, the report gives an overview of the current legal framework for the protection of the rights of same-sex couples and their children on the move in Europe. It presents EU standards on mutual recognition of partnerships and parenthood, with reference to relevant provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the relevant Directives and the Court of Justice of the EU case law, and discusses recent policy developments such as the LGBTQI+ Equality Strategy 2020-2025 and the European Commission’s proposal of a Regulation on Mutual Parenthood Recognition. The report also presents standards developed within the Council of Europe framework, including relevant European Court of Human Rights case law.
Presenting the results of a survey circulated amongst the members of the Cluster, the report reflects on the role of Equality Bodies in ensuring equality for rainbow families in Europe. Unfortunately, there are several barriers to Equality Bodies’ involvement on the topic, such as their mandate, the national legal framework, lack of awareness and underreporting. However, the report presents some good practices of cases addressed by Equality Bodies in Croatia, Poland, Romania and Slovenia, including about the establishment or recognition of parenthood in cases involving surrogacy, domestic adoptions and assisted reproduction techniques.
The report will be presented during Equinet’s webinar on “Equality Bodies promoting the rights on rainbow families” on 26 March 2024, addressed to Equinet members.