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The European approach to recognising, downgrading, and erasing same-sex marriages celebrated abroad

This chapter analyses how European countries that provide some protection for same-sex couples (e.g. civil partnerships, but not marriage) deal with same-sex marriages celebrated abroad. In this respect, there are three models: recognition, downgrading, and erasure.

Recognition means that these marriages are recognised as marriages, either for all purposes, or for some of them, e.g. for the exercise of EU freedoms. Romania is the case study, because Coman – the CJEU case that provides a basis for the recognition model – concerned a Romanian case and therefore it is important to see how Member States implement the CJEU’s ruling.

Downgrading’ is the model whereby foreign marriages are treated as national civil partnerships. This is based on Orlandi, and therefore Italy is the chosen case study.

Hungary, finally, represents the ‘erasure’ model whereby same-sex marriages celebrated abroad are not even recognised as civil partnerships.

These models are criticised from an EU law, European human rights law, and private international law perspective.

This is the abstract of a chapter of the book Same-Sex Relationships, Law and Social Change (Routledge 2020) edited by Dr Frances Hamilton and me. The book is available for purchase on Routledge’s website.

Please cite as Guido Noto La Diega, ‘The European approach to recognising, downgrading, and erasing same-sex marriages celebrated abroad’ in Frances Hamilton and Guido Noto La Diega (eds), Same-Sex Relationships, Law and Social Change (Routledge 2020) ch 2

Published by guidonld

I am Associate Professor of Intellectual Property Law and Privacy Law at the University of Stirling, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, where I lead the Media Law and Information Technology Law courses. I am an expert in the legal issues of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, and blockchain. Holder of a PhD (Unipa), a postdoc (QMUL), and an HEA Fellowship, I have a strong publication and bidding record and my works on Intellectual Property, Data Protection, Information Technology Law, Consumer Protection, and Human Rights have been cited by the EU Court of Justice’s Advocate General, the House of Lords, the European Commission, and the Council of Europe. Outside of the University of Stirling, I am Director of ‘Ital-IoT’ Centre of Multidisciplinary Research on the Internet of Things, Visiting Professor at the University of Macerata, Fellow of the Nexa Center for Internet and Society, Fellow of NINSO Northumbria Internet & Society Research Group, and I serve on the Executive Committee of the Society of Legal Scholars, the oldest and largest society of law academics in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Most of my publications can be downloaded for free on SSRN, ResearchGate,, and LawArXiv.

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