Lesbian Visibility Day: “If you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in every country”
Lesbian Visibility Day 2022
On this Lesbian Visibility Day, Forbidden Colours calls the European Commission to urgently work on a legislative initiative regarding the mutual recognition of parenthood for rainbow families – as foreseen in the LGBTIQ+ Equality Strategy of the European Commission.
Children are the victim of the discriminatory policies of certain member states. The organisation draws attention to the case of Baby Sara at CJEU.
A ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union obliges Bulgaria to provide identity documents for children with same-sex parents. The judgment of December 14, 2021 is a result of the lawsuit brought by lawyer Denitsa Lyubenova against the Sofia Municipality, Pancharevo District that refused to deliver a birth certificate for baby Sara. The judgment is crucial for the entire European community as the institutions will now be obliged to recognize and not deny the rights of children of same-sex parents.
Sara was born in Spain in 2019. She has two mothers, one of whom is of Bulgarian nationality and the other of British nationality. Spain does not grant citizenship on a birthright basis and the United Kingdom does not allow parents to pass on citizenship to children born outside the UK territory. As a result, Sara became stateless due to the refusal of the Bulgarian government to provide identity documents.
Unequal treatment and discrimination based on sexual orientation
When applying for a Bulgarian birth certificate, the Bulgarian authorities required proof of biological parentage. The mothers refused as there is no Bulgarian law that makes this an obligation. In identical cases where two parents of different sexes apply for a Bulgarian birth certificate for their child born outside Bulgaria, proof of biological parentage is not requested. Consequently, the refusal of the Bulgarian administrative authorities must be regarded as a refusal of equal treatment of persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and therefore constitutes a violation of Articles 20 and 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
By denying Sara both Bulgarian and European citizenship, she was denied the free movement of a citizen in the European Union. This prevented Sara from leaving her native Spain and her family from Bulgaria and Great Britain could only see her when they traveled to Spain themselves. Sara is now two years old and she is entitled to school. Due to lack of citizenship, she could not go to school in Spain.
Denitsa Lyubenova, legal representative of the parents and director of the legal program of the LGBTI organization Deystvie*: “The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union is fully in line with the principles on which the European Union is built and also with the case-law of the Court of Justice so far, namely that all European citizens should be treated equally. Bulgaria is obliged to recognize Sara’s legal relationship with her two mothers. Bulgaria cannot rely on its national and constitutional identity and public order to derogate from the fundamental rights of EU citizens. According to the Court of Justice, the child Sara is the heir of her Bulgarian and British mother, and the two mothers have the right to inherit each other.”
In her State of the Union, European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen famously said: “”If you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in every country”. It is time to put these words into reality.
Written by Forbidden Colours Advocate Séverine De Bruyn.