CJEU asked for preliminary ruling on sodo-“marriages”

slide_225388_957607_freeThe Romanian Constitutional Court has announced that it will refer questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the case of a same-sex couple who wish to be recognised as spouses in Romania.

The Constitutional Court will seek clarification on whether a same-sex couple, “married” in Belgium, is entitled to be recognised as “spouses” in Romania by way of application of the EU Directive on family reunification with a EU citizen. 

Adrian Coman and his partner were married in Belgium in 2010, but their “marriage” is not recognised in Mr. Coman’s native Romania, where the law does not recognize sodo-“marriages”. The Romanian authorities refused to issue a residence permit for Mr. Coman’s husband in 2012 as the state did not recognise him as a spouse. The current case is challenging the constitutionality of the section of the domestic Civil Code that excludes same-sex marriages carried out abroad from being recognised in Romania. It is unclear how the question of constitutionality is linked to the EU Directive, but it may be assumed that the question will be whether that Directive creates an obligation for Romania under EU law to recognize sodo-“marriages”.

The referral for a preliminary ruling may have become redundant following a recent decision by the CJEU, in which it is stated in no unclear terms that Member States remain completely free to legislate, or not to legislate, for same-sex “marriages or “civil unions”.

Earlier this year, more than 3 million Romanian citizens have signed a petition to amend the country’s constitution in order to clarify that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. The issue will soon be subject to a referendum.