European Court of Human Rights rules in favor of respect for same-sex couples

Today, Tuesday, July 21, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that international law requires legal protection for same-sex couples in all countries across the continent that have signed on to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, stressed the importance of this ruling:

Today's ruling affirms that gay people may not be denied the basic human right to form families and requires that all signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights treat their committed relationships with respect and protection under the law. It immediately raises the bar in countries that currently provide no legal recognition for same-sex partners, and also brings Europe another big step closer to the freedom to marry continent-wide. By talking neighbor to neighbor about who gay people are and why marriage matters, as we did here and our counterparts have done across Europe, from the Netherlands in 2001 to Ireland in May, we will see a critical mass of European states with the freedom to marry and the realization of full equality for hundreds of millions.

Twenty-four of the 47 countries in the Council of Europe currently have civil union or marriage for same-sex couples.

Freedom to Marry applauds this ruling, and looks forward to the day that all countries in Europe -- and the world -- welcome marriage for same-sex couples.