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The Rights of Recognized Same-Sex Partners Moving Across the EU
In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize marriage equality for same-sex couples. This creates a precedent, followed by dozens of other countries, both inside and outside of Europe. Today, twenty-two of the EU Member States already offer some form of legalization of same-sex families - registered partnership or marriage. At the same time, a study on the values in Bulgarian in 2017 shows that over 75% of the respondents are opposed to allowing same-sex couples to marry.

On November 8, 2018, the Center for the Study of Democracy participated in an international conference on the topic of marriage equality, part of a national initiative to study the rights of same-sex couples residing in Bulgaria with officially recognized marriage or partnership in another EU Member State. In the framework of the conference, experts from six European countries (the Netherlands, Ireland, Malta, the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria) exchanged experiences on marriage equality, addressed the implementation of the Free Movement Directive for same-sex couples in the EU, discussed the institutional obstacles to the introduction of marriage equality in Bulgaria and other European countries, as well as the role of the non-governmental sector, politicians, activists and institutions.

Within the framework of the event, Liliya Dragoeva, an analyst at the Center for the Study of Democracy's Sociological Program, presented the results of the first study for Bulgaria among same-sex couples with a recognized marriage or partnership in another EU Member State. The data show that none of the rights which the couples enjoy as spouses and partners in other countries are recognized in Bulgaria. This includes the right of residence, the exercise of custody, property rights and the right to inheritance. Interviewed families associate Bulgaria with a strong sense of injustice due to systemic discrimination by institutions and negative public attitudes and stigma of same-sex relationships.

Agenda (Adobe PDF, 1.19 MB)
Presentation by Liliya Dragoeva, Analyst, Sociological Program, Center for the Study of Democracy (Adobe PDF, 800 KB, in Bulgarian)
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