EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS RULES THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES ENJOY 'FAMILY LIFE', "JUST AS DIFFERENT-SEX COUPLES DO"
Today, in the case of Schalk & Kopf v. Austria, the European Court of Human Rights was not yet able to interpret Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights as requiring Council of Europe member states to allow same-sex couples to marry. However, the Court made it clear that this conclusion can change when more European countries than the current 7 (Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) have ended the exclusion of same-sex couples from legal marriage. In particular, the Court decided that the reference to "men and women" in Article 12 (which has been deleted from Article 9 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights) no longer means that "the right to marry enshrined in Article 12 must in all circumstances be limited to marriage between two persons of the opposite sex".
Law no. 9/2010, of 31 May, allowing same-sex marriage, has been published in the Portuguese Official Gazette today.
At the end of a debate on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) condemned discrimination and called on European States to guarantee equal rights, i.e. legal recognition and equal treatment of same-sex partnerships and provide for the possibility of "joint parental responsibility" for each partner's children “bearing in mind the interests of children”.