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*PIL Case Law

Published on June 8th, 2018 | by Olga Papadopoulou

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CJEU C-673/16, Article 21 TFEU, Directive 2004/38/EC — Art. 3, 2(2)(a), 7 — Definition of ‘spouse’ — Marriage between persons of the same sex

C‑673/16,

Relu Adrian Coman, Robert Clabourn Hamilton, Asociaţia Accept

v

Inspectoratul General pentru Imigrări, Ministerul Afacerilor Interne,

intervener: Consiliul Naţional pentru Combaterea Discriminării,

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Grand Chamber), 5 June 2018 (*)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Citizenship of the Union — Article 21 TFEU — Right of Union citizens to move and reside freely in the territory of the Member States — Directive 2004/38/EC — Article 3 — Beneficiaries — Family members of the Union citizen — Article 2(2)(a) — Definition of ‘spouse’ — Marriage between persons of the same sex — Article 7 — Right of residence for more than three months — Fundamental rights)

In those circumstances, the Curtea Constituţională (Constitutional Court) decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following questions to the Court for a preliminary ruling:

‘(1)      Does the term “spouse” in Article 2(2)(a) of Directive 2004/38, read in the light of Articles 7, 9, 21 and 45 of the Charter, include the same-sex spouse, from a State which is not a Member State of the European Union, of a citizen of the European Union to whom that citizen is lawfully married in accordance with the law of a Member State other than the host Member State?

(2)      If the answer [to the first question] is in the affirmative, do Articles 3(1) and 7([2]) of Directive 2004/38, read in the light of Articles 7, 9, 21 and 45 of the Charter, require the host Member State to grant the right of residence in its territory for a period of longer than three months to the same-sex spouse of a citizen of the European Union?

(3)      If the answer to [the first question] is in the negative, can the same-sex spouse, from a State which is not a Member State of the Union, of the Union citizen to whom he or she is lawfully married, in accordance with the law of a Member State other than the host State, be classified as “any other family member” within the meaning of Article 3(2)(a) of Directive 2004/38 or a “partner with whom the Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested”, within the meaning of Article 3(2)(b) of that directive, with the corresponding obligation for the host Member State to facilitate entry and residence for that spouse, even if that State does not recognise marriages between persons of the same sex and provides no alternative form of legal recognition, such as registered partnership?

(4)      If the answer to [the third question] is in the affirmative, do Articles 3(2) and 7(2) of Directive 2004/38, read in the light of Articles 7, 9, 21 and 45 of the Charter, require the host Member State to grant the right of residence in its territory for a period of longer than three months to the same-sex spouse of a Union citizen?’

On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

  1. In a situation in which a Union citizen has made use of his freedom of movement by moving to and taking up genuine residence, in accordance with the conditions laid down in Article 7(1) of Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC, in a Member State other than that of which he is a national, and, whilst there, has created and strengthened a family life with a third-country national of the same sex to whom he is joined by a marriage lawfully concluded in the host Member State, Article 21(1) TFEU must be interpreted as precluding the competent authorities of the Member State of which the Union citizen is a national from refusing to grant that third-country national a right of residence in the territory of that Member State on the ground that the law of that Member State does not recognise marriage between persons of the same sex.
  2. Article 21(1) TFEU is to be interpreted as meaning that, in circumstances such as those of the main proceedings, a third-country national of the same sex as a Union citizen whose marriage to that citizen was concluded in a Member State in accordance with the law of that state has the right to reside in the territory of the Member State of which the Union citizen is a national for more than three months. That derived right of residence cannot be made subject to stricter conditions than those laid down in Article 7 of Directive 2004/38.

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