Victory for same-sex families

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg ruled that refusing same-sex couples residence permits with the purpose of family reunification on the basis of their sexual orientation is discriminatory.

Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, welcomed the decision in the case brought by a woman from Bosnia-Herzegovina who was refused a Croatian residence permit she requested to be reunited with her long-term partner in Croatia. 

Alyn said:

“We have received another important signal from the European Human Rights Court. Croatia’s decision to make it impossible for a partner in a same-sex relationship to obtain a residence permit for family reunification was discriminatory and such discrimination is illegal.

“This decision should be seen and treated as a test case. Everyone has a right to family life and to be with his or her loved ones. Immigration cases must not be decided based on someone’s sexual orientation. This was a clear case of discrimination and I’m delighted to see a unanimous decision from human rights judges that there had been a violation of Article 14, prohibition of discrimination, in conjunction with Article 8, right to respect for private and family life, of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“I also hope this case will illustrate the importance of the European Convention on Human Rights for us all, which is setting a high standard for the protection of human rights and fundamental rights in Europe and beyond.”

Details of the judgment can be accessed here: