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


"Ideology leads societies down a dead end" - Ordo Iuris at international conference in Lithuania

· The Lithuanian Movement of Families held an international conference in Vilnius this past weekend entitled. "Standing up for natural rights, let's save Europe together."

· The discussion at the event focused on emphasizing the value of the family and the fundamental right of parents to raise their children according to their own beliefs, as well as the dangers accompanying them due to technological advances, globalization and the promotion of gender ideology.

Read more
Family and marriage


Istanbul Convention adopted by EU only in part, without provisions promoting gender ideology

· The European Parliament has passed a resolution agreeing to conclude the Istanbul Convention in its entirety for EU institutions and in part for member states.

· The document is controversial due to some provisions promoting gender ideology.

· The EU's accession to the convention would allow EU institutions to impose financial penalties on countries for "inadequate" implementation of its provisions.

Read more
Family and marriage


Strasbourg Court: state can refuse to recognize man as mother and woman as father

· The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has dismissed complaints against decisions by German civil registry offices that refused to enter information on birth certificates that did not conform to the biological sex of two people.

· The first case involved a woman who changed her metric sex from female to male on her documents and began hormone therapy. After stopping the therapy, she gave birth to a child conceived through in vitro fertilization.

Read more

Protection of life, freedom of religion and national symbols - Ordo Iuris intervenes before the Strasbourg Court

- The Ordo Iuris Institute constantly monitors the activities of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

- Lawyers intervene as a "friend of the court" in cases that are important in terms of the right to life from conception to natural death, protection of the family, religious freedom or freedom of expression.

Read more