In an interview with Politico, published on Monday, Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, indicated he is committed to make sure all EU Member States recognise same-sex marriages conducted abroad.
This confirms statements he made in a speech one week before, when he called it a disgrace that same-sex married couples moving to another country “run into all sorts of idiotic problems” opposite-sex couples would not face in the same situation.
These problems could include loss of pension rights, inheritance, next-of-kin rights or child custody rights.
“I look forward to working with Mr Timmermans to ensure that this will be reality sooner rather than later.”
Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, added: “Why would two married women and their children be recognised as a family in one EU Member state, and as two single women with orphans in another? This is what happens in Italy, as I underlined in the conference ‘Europe: Families without borders!’ and in the video ‘If you are married in Europe you are married in Italy, too.’”
“Indeed this does not make sense and may create dangerous situations. I am very glad to see that Vice President Timmermans is committed to ensure that the effects of same-sex marriages are recognised EU-wide.”
Ian Duncan MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, concluded: “I welcome the words of Vice President Timmermans. Same sex couples should not have to face barriers in other European countries that are not faced by heterosexual couples.”
“I have written to Mr Timmermans to ask what action he will be taking to follow up on his pledge”
See what you make of the Jamaica Observer's Editorial today, I wonder if they are really honest:
How long before Jamaica recognises same-sex marriages?
On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision that the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution requires all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognise same-sex marriages granted in other states.
In doing so, the Supreme Court overturned its prior decision in 1972 in a case called Baker v Nelson, one of the first attempts by a homosexual couple, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, to secure a licence for a same-sex marriage. It failed at the time primarily on grounds that marriage was to be between a man and a woman.
"Their (same-sex couples) hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilisation's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in his 2015 opinion on the law.
The US decision called Obergefell has, predictably, launched an intense debate not only in the US but across the world, particularly among Christians, with some describing it as "tragic" and a "grave error"; while gays and pro-gay groups have ecstatically embraced it.
Jamaicans appear to be taking their time to digest the US Supreme Court's ruling, but the debate here can be expected to be no less intense. It is an extension of the vigourously contested views on the legalisation of homosexuality, as proposed in the call to strike down laws against buggery.
We suspect that the US decision will impact Jamaica and the Caribbean sooner than later, given that hundreds of Americans come here to get married in the idyllic conditions offered by year-round warm sea, sand and sun with which we are blessed. The economic bonanza alone will make it hard to say no.
The real question will be how long before Jamaica follows America in legalising same-sex marriages.
For its part, the United States has come a long way since May 18, 1970 when Jack Baker and Michael McConnell climbed the steps of the Minneapolis courthouse, paid the required fee of US$10, and applied, unsuccessfully, for a marriage licence. Reports said the county clerk Gerald Nelson told them bluntly that marriage was for people of the opposite sex.
The Supreme Court's decision is a dramatic indication of how views have changed in America in the 45 years since. Jamaicans, despite unfortunate labels of being homophobic, have also grown in their tolerance of the gay lifestyle. It is worthy of notice that the days of violence against homosexuals seem to be well behind us and there is now a greater acceptance of the value of dialogue on this issue.
Indeed, that was the experience of Messrs Randy Berry and Todd Larson, the US Government LGBTI advocates who visited Jamaica in May this year.