MEPs to vote on recognition of existing same-sex partnerships

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The European Parliament will vote tomorrow on a resolution which calls for same-sex marriages to be recognised across all EU states.

The resolution, the work of Italian MEP Giusto Cantania, uses arguments based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

It calls for countries which already recognise gay marriage to also acknowledge it across different Member States.

In article 75 of the resolution states that legislation should be drawn up to: “propose guidelines for mutual recognition of existing legislation between Member States in order to guarantee that the right of free movement within the European Union for same-sex couples applies under conditions equal to those applicable to heterosexual couples.”

A similar declaration was tabled in October by British MEP Sharon Bowles.

It instructed countries, “with existing same-sex partnership legislation to recognise the arrangements of other Member States that have also made provisions for same-sex partnerships.” revealed in December 2008 that despite the best efforts of campaigners, many British MEPs had not signed up to the cause.

A request to Nigel Farage MEP from campaigner Ben Hepworth was responded to by Andrew S. Reed at the MEP’s office in Brussels who said:

“I should point out that the assembly’s Written Declarations – just like its Resolutions and Own-Initiative Reports – have no legal force, because the assembly is only allowed to vote meaningfully upon matters placed before it by the EU-Commission (under the Commission’s “sole right of legislative proposal”).

“Moreover, the Commission only proposes matters, which it knows the assembly will adopt. If there is any doubt about this, the Commission merely passes its proposals directly to the EU-Council.

“I am not sure, therefore, what is meant by “the policy-stage” (hoping the Commission will take notice, perhaps) but it certainly does not mean much.

“The assembly’s initatives are merely ways of making the assembly, and its members, look as though they are doing something, when, in fact, they are merely a rubber-stamp for the Commission and a trick to make the EU look as though it possesses an element of democracy.”

However, there were also positive responses from MEPs who added their support for the declaration.

Currently some EU nations, including Spain and Belgium, do allow gay marriage.

The UK has civil partnerships, which are also to be introduced in the Republic of Ireland.

The French pacte civil de solidarité (PACS) is recognised in Britain, despite civil partnerships not being recognised in France.

Currently gay and lesbian people who have recognised unions or same sex marriages are being denied the right to move and live freely amongst EU Member States.