'Spouse' includes same-sex partners, European Union court adviser says

'Spouse' includes same-sex partners, European Union court adviser says

'Spouse' includes same-sex partners, European Union court adviser says

The Luxembourg-based court but not always follows the legal opinions of its advocates general.

Coman and Hamilton have been fighting for years to have their legal status as spouses officially recognised in Romania, where there is strong anti-gay sentiment.

The move is seen as a huge step in the right direction for equal rights campaigners, and comes following the case of Romanian national, Adrian Coman who was unable to live in Romania with his American husband.

Under the E.U.'s 2004 freedom of movement principle, member states are required to grant residency to citizens' spouses from non-E.U. countries.

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EU countries should recognise the right of all spouses to residency even if they do not allow gay marriage, according to the advocate general for the European Court of Justice.

EU law permits a in the member state where the European national resides.

The couple challenged the decision, saying it was discriminatory on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Although the decision has been approved by members of the ECJ, a final decision is still to be approved in a full court case. While member states are free to provide for marriage between persons of the same sex in their domestic legal system or not, they must fulfil their obligations under the freedom of movement of European Union citizens. With his request, Hamilton makes use of freedom of movement directive which European Union establishes for spouses of Community citizens.

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The Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld said: "This is fantastic news and a landmark opinion for rainbow families".

Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2001 but prohibits marriage between people of the same sex, and does not recognize same-sex marriages carried out overseas. Combined, they could soon require each of the EU's 28 member nations to extend the rights and benefits of marriage equality to LGBTQ people across Europe - European Union gay marriage right would be gigantic deal affecting untold hundreds of thousands of people.

In the European Union, same-sex marriage is legal in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, excluding Northern Ireland.

A senior adviser to the European Union's top court has backed a Romanian gay man's right to have his U.S. husband live with him in Romania. Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia still grant no legal recognition to same-sex couples.

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