Human rights court: Europe cannot be forced to redefine marriage

Wedding Rings. Credit: Petr Kratochvil (CC0 1.0)

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the refusal to recognize same-sex “marriages” does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

In a July 16 ruling, the human rights court explained that while “some Contracting States have extended marriage to same-sex partners,” European laws establishing the right of men and women to freely marry “cannot be construed as imposing an obligation on the Contracting States to grant access to marriage to same-sex couples.”

The applicant to the high European human rights court brought his petition after Finland refused to recognize the his 2009 sex change from male to female.

Finland, which does not recognize same-sex “marriages,” said it could not recognize the sex change of a person validly married to a person of the opposite sex. The country said it could only recognize the applicant’s new identity if his marriage to his wife was dissolved either by divorce or transformation into a civil partnership.

The applicant claimed that this refusal to accept same-sex “marriages” and its impact on the recognition of his new identity was a violation of his human rights.

However, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found that Finland’s refusal to recognize same-sex unions does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

While the convention establishes the ability “to marry and have a family” as a right, the court stated that the document cannot be interpreted as requiring marriage to be defined in a way that includes same-sex couples.

The European Convention on Human Rights, the court explained, “enshrines the traditional concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman.”

The court also noted that applicants cannot claim “that there exists any European consensus on allowing same-sex marriages,” given that only 10 member states of the European Union recognize such unions, and the majority of countries recognize marriage as a union between one man and one woman.


Voices

Appreciating the gift of memory

Anne Hansen

Why do we hold on to so many things in closets, garages and storage units? What is it about the birth announcement of an adult child or the high school diploma of an elderly grandparent that keeps these objects carefully saved rather than discarded? They are of no use to anyone and take up space. Yet they are precious and difficult to part with.

 

 

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Events

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January 25, 2015

  • Saturday, January 24

    Building Bridges through Intercultural Competency: A Symposium on the Future of Education and Ministry in the Church, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles. Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will deliver a keynote address, which will be followed by two panel discussions on issues of intercultural competency and diversity featuring experts and practitioners working in Catholic education and other ministries in Southern California and across the United States. For more information, please contact the LMU School of Education Office of the Dean at (310) 258-8768.

    Life in the Spirit Seminar, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (Registration 8:30 a.m.), Incarnation School Auditorium, 1001, N Brand Blvd., Glendale. Led by Fr. Bill Adams C.S.s.R. (818) 421-1354.

    Journey Through Grief, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes. (310) 377-4867.

    “One Life, One Light” Requiem for the Unborn, 6 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 West Temple Street, Los Angeles.

  • Sunday, January 25

    44th Annual Whale Fiesta, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro. Free. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium celebrates marine mammals and the beginning of the migration of the Pacific gray whales along Southern California. Activities include building a life-sized whale out of sand, “Great Duct Tape Whale Contest” and “Whale Dynamics,” where participants will be transformed into a single “living whale.” (310) 548-7562.

    “Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change” with director Jayasri Majumdar Hart, 3-5 p.m., St. Bernadette Parish, 3825 Don Felipe Dr., Los Angeles. A discussion with Ms. Hart will follow the screening.  Free.

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