Informujemy, że Państwa dane osobowe są przetwarzane przez Fundację Instytut na Rzecz Kultury Prawnej Ordo Iuris z siedzibą w Warszawie przy ul. Górnośląskiej 20/6, kod pocztowy 00-484 (administrator danych) w celu informowania o realizacji działań statutowych, w tym do informowania o organizowanych akcjach społecznych. Podanie danych jest dobrowolne. Informujemy, że przysługuje Państwu prawo dostępu do treści swoich danych i możliwości ich poprawiania.
Skip to main content
Facebook Twitter Youtube

Strasbourg court orders Romania to institutionalize same-sex cohabitation, despite opposition from majority of society

Published: 24.05.2023

Adobe Stock

· The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Romania violated the right to respect for private and family life of 21 same-sex couples who complained that their cohabitation could not be formalized.

· The complainants demanded payment of more than half a million euros in compensation for the "psychological suffering" involved.

· The Court ruled on the violation, but refused to award compensation.

· The ECHR ruling means Romania will have to institutionalize same-sex cohabitation in the form of civil unions or marriage.

· Romania is the third country to be forced by the Court to institutionalize same-sex cohabitation. Previously, the Court issued similar rulings against Italy and Russia.

· According to a 2018 poll, as many as 74% of Romanians oppose the introduction of same-sex "marriages."

In 2019 and 2020. 21 same-sex couples complained to the European Court of Human Rights about the impossibility of formalizing their cohabitation in Romania, indicating that such a state of affairs constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (Article 14 of the Convention) and violates their right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 of the Convention). Indeed, Romanian law stipulates that marriage can only be entered into by a man and a woman (Article 271 of the Civil Code), and so-called same-sex marriages are prohibited (Article 277 §1 of the Civil Code).  The complainants requested 525,000 euros in compensation (25,000 euros for each of the 21 complainants) for "psychological suffering" caused by the inability to formalize cohabitation.

Already in 2020, the Ordo Iuris Institute joined the proceedings before the ECHR as a friend of the court. In its submitted legal opinion, the Institute recalled that even in light of the Court's own jurisprudence, the state has the right to protect the identity of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and can refrain from institutionalizing same-sex cohabitation if the majority of society wishes it. This was also the case in Romania, where, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 74% of Romanians opposed the introduction of same-sex "marriages."

In 2023, the Strasbourg Court ruled that Romania had violated the applicants' right to respect for private and family life. In its reasoning, the Court referred to previous case law that states have an obligation to allow same-sex couples to formalize cohabitation - regardless of the opinion of the majority of society: "the negative attitude of the heterosexual majority cannot be set against the applicants' interest in having their relationships recognized and regulated." The Court, however, dismissed the complaints in part on the demand for compensation.

The verdict was reached by a majority of 5 votes to 2. Two judges - Prof. Krzysztof Wojtyczek of Poland and Dr. Armen Harutyunyan of Armenia - filed dissenting opinions, indicating that in their view Romania did not violate Article 8 of the Convention, because the provision allows for various forms of legal recognition of same-sex cohabitation, so it does not have to be registration (as the Court says), but can also be certain facilities in various areas of law that same-sex couples can enjoy without having to register their cohabitation as a marriage or "partnership."

- This is the third Council of Europe member state to be ordered by the Strasbourg Court to institutionalize same-sex unions. For several decades, the Court has held that a same-sex relationship does not constitute a family within the meaning of the Convention. In 2010. The Court reversed its position, citing "changing times" in which most states had introduced same-sex partnerships or even marriage. In 2015. The Court ordered Italy to introduce civil unions for same-sex couples, in early 2023. Russia, and now - Romania. It is only a matter of time before analogous rulings are issued against other European countries, including Poland. Although the Ordo Iuris Institute has consistently entered proceedings before the ECHR in these cases, arguing that the state can deviate from the institutionalization of same-sex unions by invoking public morality and the opinion of the majority of society, i.e. democratic considerations, the Court has gradually hardened its position, ruling out any deviation from the rule it has established. This is yet another manifestation, in fact, of the Court's law-making activity, within the framework of which a redefinition of the concept of family is being carried out, which was intended by the creators of the Convention to be a community based on marriage understood as a stable union between a man and a woman," stressed Weronika Przebierała, director of the International Law Center of the Ordo Iuris Institute.


The case of Buhuceanu and others v. Romania, ECHR judgment of May 23, 2023.

Family and marriage


Culture as a way to overcome the demographic crisis. International scientific conference

· In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of discussion about how to overcome the demographic crisis.

· Many commentators see solutions to the problem in political and social programs.

· The Ordo Iuris Institute and Collegium Intermarium are organizing an international scientific conference to present the cultural aspects of the demographic crisis and possible measures in this area to improve the situation.

Read more
Family and marriage


Gender agreement adopted by EU Council. Poland in defense of the right to life and against the deconstruction of traditional norms

· The Council of the European Union has decided on the signing and provisional application of the Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States. The EU is expected to sign the Agreement itself in the coming months.

Read more
Family and marriage


Norwegian parents detained in Warsaw. Ordo Iuris intervention in defense of the family

· Two Norwegians have been detained and questioned by police in Warsaw, in connection with a European Arrest Warrant issued by Norwegian authorities.

· The reason for the Norwegian children's agency Barnevernet's interest in the family was allegations of the mother's alleged addiction, which would endanger the daughter for whom she has custody.

Read more
Family and marriage


Surrogacy: Will the Hague Convention force the legalization of surrogacy in member states?

·The Hague Conference on Private International Law has been working for several years to legally regulate parental rights in cases of surrogacy

· In a prepared report, experts stress that in some countries, surrogacy users have difficulty obtaining the child's citizenship and parental rights

· Experts suggest developing an international instrument recognizing foreign court decisions on parentage and unifying regulations

Read more