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Petitions to EP on violation of right to family life

X.Y. and Z.W. submitted a petition to the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament arguing that Poland violated their rights as European Union citizens. Petitioners noted that Poland’s refusal to enter in the Polish register of births, deaths and marriages the information about them concluding a civil partnership abroad had violated their right to a family life and free movement of persons.

In June 2013 the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the cassation complaint filed by X.Y. and Z.W. The SAC claimed that the conclusion of civil partnerships was not defined by the Polish law as an event which may be recorded in the said register. According to the SAC, the applied interpretation does not infringe the standards laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights, because it is still stated in the case-law of the ECtHR that Member States have the right to limit access to marriage for same-sex couples, which also applies to civil partnerships.

It is highlighted in the petition that the Polish law contains no specific regulations governing the issue of entering civil partnerships, including by same-sex couples. In addition, the Polish law does not provide for the possibility of recording such partnerships concluded abroad. This leads to a situation where entries made in the Polish register of births, deaths and marriages do not reflect the actual state of affairs. At the same time, the law does not mention any explicit ban on making an entry of the conclusion of a civil partnership abroad to the register.

The case acquires additional gravity in light of the right to free movement of persons within the European Union. No correlation between the real life and legal regulations may lead to a situation where Polish citizens living in civil partnerships concluded abroad will be able to enter into marriages in Poland or marriages and civil partnerships in other EU states. This, in turn, affects the enjoyment of the right to a private and family life contained in article 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The European Union gives much priority to issues related to the right to free movement of persons who are in same-sex civil partnerships. This is shown, for instance, in recent reports – one of the Fundamental Rights Agency on the right to free movement of LGBT persons across the European Union and another from the European Commission on EU citizenship.

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