Same-Sex Relationships and Beyond (3rd edition)

The legal situation concerning same-sex couples is far from homogeneous in Europe. This book gives an overview of the formalisation and consequences of same-sex marriage and partnership all over Europe, discusses children’s rights in same-sex relationships and addresses the topic of gender identity.
Katharina Boele-Woelki, Angelika Fuchs
European Family Law
book | published | 3rd edition
March 2017 | xii + 250 pp.


€41.30 €59.-

ISBN 9781780684475

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ISBN 9781780684956

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The legal status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people has undergone significant changes in several countries, but remains highly complex and difficult for those affected. Although same-sex partners may have the right to marry or enter into a registered partnership in one Member State, this legal relationship may not be recognised when they exercise their right to freedom of movement. The same is true for certain parent-child relationships, which may be recognised as such in one Member State but not another.

This book explores the challenges and controversies concerning the recognition of same-sex relationships throughout the EU through the lens of EU legislation, the case law of the CJEU and ECtHR, and recent national developments. Following the Irish referendum and the recent ECtHR judgment in Oliari v Italy, more changes are expected in the near future.

The opening part of the book describes the current state of play in all EU Member States (and beyond) when formalising a same-sex relationship, ‘steady progress’ being the key term in describing the developments in many countries (with the exception of six Eastern European states that object to legislation in this field). The second part concentrates on parenthood and children’s rights, notably adoption, surrogacy, multiple parenting and the range of parenting rights for same-sex couples, transsexual and transgender people. The third part on gender identity and human rights discusses the legal aftermath of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment in Oliari, condemning Italy for failing to protect homosexuals’ right to family life. Furthermore, it explains EU legislation against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and the challenges lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender applicants are confronted with when reaching Europe as refugees. The book ends with a lively debate on the right to change one’s legal sex and raises the fundamental question whether we still need sex as a legal category.

This book is written for both the academic and professional readership.

About the editors:
Prof Dr Katharina Boele-Woelki is Dean and Claussen Simon Professor of Comparative Law at Bucerius Law School, Hamburg. She is also President of the International Academy of Comparative Law; Member of the Curatorium of the Hague Academy of International Law; Chair of the Commission on European Family Law; and Vice- Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Dr Angelika Fuchs is Head of Section in European Private Law at the Academy of European Law (ERA) in Trier.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (p. 0)


Northern Europe: Same-Sex Relationships and Family Law (p. 3)

Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships in Central Europe: Steady Progress (p. 19)

Southern Jurisdictions: Consolidation in the West, Progress in the East (p. 39)

Same-Sex Partnerships in Eastern Europe: Marriage, Registration or No Regulation? (p. 55)


Parenthood for Same-Sex Couples in the European Union: Key Challenges (p. 79)

Recent Case Law on Cross-Border Surrogacy (p. 123)

Law and Practice of Intercountry Adoption (p. 143)


Homosexuality and Human Rights After Oliari v. Italy (p. 163)

European Law Against Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation (p. 179)

LGBT People as Refugees and Immigration Rights (p. 205)

‘The Legitimate Aim of Harmonising Body and Soul’. Changing Legal Gender: Family Life and Human Rights (p. 231)

About the series:

European Family Law

... the European Family Law Series [plays] an important role in informing lawyers across Europe and beyond about developments in other jurisdictions, and in continually assessing the potential for hamonisation in the field.
Brian Sloan in Rabels Zeitschrift 74 (2010)

The European Family Law series is dedicated to the harmonisation and unification of family and succession law in Europe. The series includes comparative legal studies and materials as well as studies on the effects of international and European law making within the national legal systems in Europe.

The series is published under the auspices of the Organising Committee of the Commission on European Family Law:
- Professor Katharina Boele-Woelki (The Netherlands),
- Professor Frédérique Ferrand (France),
- Professor Cristina González Beilfuss (Spain),
- Professor Maarit Jänterä-Jareborg (Sweden),
- Professor Nigel Lowe (United Kingdom),
- Professor Dieter Martiny (Germany) and
- Professor Velina Todorova (Bulgaria).

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