Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Bulgaria urged to recognise same-sex couples


The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of a same-sex couple, acknowledging that Bulgaria had failed to recognise them as legally married abroad.

The case, taken by Darina Koilova and Lily Babulkova, sought to have their marriage recognised by the Bulgarian Civil Registration Act after the Metropolitan Municipality had refused their application in 2017.

The couple, who legally married in the UK in 2016, filed a case in the Metropolitan Administrative Court, which confirmed the refusal of the Metropolitan Municipality of Sofia. in 2019 the decision was also upheld by the Supreme Administrative Court.

In their appeal, Koilova and Babulkova claimed that the decision was in breach of their right to respect for private and family life protected under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The ruling, which was unanimously decided upon by all seven of the presiding judges, stated: “It is clear to the Court that to date the Bulgarian authorities have taken no steps to have adequate legal regulations adopted with regard to the recognition of unions between persons of the same sex.”

The judgement mandates that state legislators create a legal framework to allow same-sex couples adequate recognition and protections. So, Bulgaria now has a positive obligation to create a legal framework guaranteeing the effective exercise of the rights enshrined in Article 8 of the ECHR.

Darina and Lily

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