This NELFA news blog contains current information concerning rainbow families, important LGBTIQ* news in general and it summarises recent activities of NELFA Board members or member organisations. You find older entries in our newsletters.
STRASBOURG, 14 February 2019: ILGA-Europe has started a new campaign concerning the EU elections in May 2019, supported by NELFA. The campaign asks MEP candidates to sign the ComeOut pledge publicly, committing them to: 1) Strengthening protection in EU law and policy, 2) Ensuring an enabling environment for LGBTI human rights defenders, 3) Ensuring EU leadership on LGBTI rights, 4) Harnessing the power of their position, 5) Being an ally to under-represented voices. For more information and to get involved, follow the hashtag #ComeOut4EU and visit the new website, www.ComeOut.eu. (photo: ILGA-Europe)
STRASBOURG, 14 February 2019: For the very first time, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on intersex rights! It sets a clear standard within the European Union for the protection of intersex people’s bodily integrity and human rights. The resolution complements the ground-breaking 2017 intersex resolution ‘Promoting the human rights of and eliminating discrimination against intersex people’ adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. (photo: ILGA-Europe).
BERN, 14 February 2019: The legal committee of the National Council is in favour of a new bill in Switzerland to introduce marriage equality, also with joint adoption rights. Unfortunately, the same committee voted against the possibility for lesbian couples to get access to medically assisted procreation (sperm donation). NELFA’s member Dachverband Regenbogenfamilien and other activits organised a demonstration with 50-100 participants in Bern. Read more here (in German). (photo: Keystone Anthony Anex)
PARIS, 01-02 February 2019: NELFA’s full member apgl (with President Dominique Boren) just organised a colloquium to discuss medically assisted procreation in France and the first six years of marriage equality. Another wonderful review offers the documentary “Mon Enfant, ma Bataille” (My Child, my Struggle). It covers 35 years of the fight for the rights of LGBTIQ* parents and their families in France. (graphic: apgl)
BRUSSELS, 31 January – 02 February 2019: NELFA Vice-President Giuseppina La Delfa (Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy) took part in a workshop of ILGA-Europe. In total, 32 participants from 16 countries came together to explore how to build new narratives in response to the anti-gender forces. (photo: ILGA-Europe via Twitter)
VIENNA, 24 January 2019: There are worrying news from Austria. The newspaper “Der Standard” just published an article concerning same-sex marriages of binational couples. Obviously, the Ministry of the Interior wants to avoid a recognition if one of the partners comes from a country without marriage equality. Read more here (in German). (photo: APA/Herbert Neubauer)
BRUSSELS, 23 January 2019: NELFA just published its first scientific research! It is a legal analysis of the ‘Coman case‘ before the European Court of Justice, which had ended with a landmark ruling in June 2018: The term “spouse” in the EU Directive 20014/38 (freedom of movement) includes married same-sex couples. The author is Professor Alina Tryfonidou (University of Reading, UK) who joined NELFA as supporting individual member. See the whole document here and the press release. (photo: Alina Tryfonidou)
BUCHAREST, 18 January 2019: NELFA welcomes wholeheartedly its new supporting member, Asociatia Accept in Romania! It is a non-governmental organisation that advocates LGBTIQ* rights since 1996. In recent times, Accept accompanied the court case of Adrian Coman and Clai Hamilton with the landmark ruling in summer 2018 at the EJC and campaigned successfully against the referendum concerning the term “family” in the Romanian constitution. (photo: Asociatia Accept)
BRUSSELS, 17 January 2019: NELFA just started a closer relationship with the EU Commission to advance the rights of rainbow families! President Dominique Boren and Secretary Björn Sieverding met up with Monika Ladmanová (Adviser of Commissioner Jourová – Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality) and issued the very first scientific publication of NELFA. It is a report on the Coman case, written by Alina Tryfonidou. Furthermore, we presented an updated list of difficult freedom of movement cases. (photo: Björn Sieverding)
COPENHAGEN, 14-18 January 2019: NELFA’s first Erasmus+ experience in the new year took place in Denmark. It was again a training course of our partner organisation In Dialogue, entitled “Monitoring and evaluation”. Our participant from Serbia (Grupa Izadji, ERA) took this picture during a work session. The “mobility” was already the fifth one in NELFA’s current project “Joining forces for the well-being of rainbow families”. You find more information about our capacity building here. (photo: Isidora Isakov)
VILNIUS, 11 January 2019: It’s a landmark ruling in Lithuania! The Constitutional Court of the Republic held a public hearing on the case determining whether Constitutional provisions regarding freedom of movement of family members apply for same-sex couples. In its judgement, the Court stressed that refusal to issue a temporary residence permit to stay in Lithuania to a spouse or partner cannot be based solely on the foreigner’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Read more. (photo: LGL)
DUBLIN, 11 January 2019: NELFA is delighted by the recent development in Ireland. Same-sex female couples will be able to register both their names on a child’s birth certificate to affirm their parental rights under a new Bill being introduced by the Government. The preparation of the Bill 2019 had been approved and will be probably presented in spring. Read more here (photo: Irish Times)
BRUSSELS, 10 January 2019: Rainbow families still face discrimination, for example in cross-border situations. MEP Sophie in’t Veld (ALDE) asked the Commission in November 2018 what steps citizens can take if the authorities of a Member State refuse to implement the ruling of the “Coman case”? See here the recent answer of the Commission (in English). (photo: EU Commissioner Vera Jourová, source: www.euractiv.com)
WARSAW, 10 January 2019: Jakub and Dawid, a wellknown gay couple in their home country, just lost their court case. Their marriage, conducted in Portugal, won’t be recognised in Poland. This means: the very positive jugdement before the EU Court of Justice (Coman case) last summer is not the end of our road! NELFA will work tirelessly for more equality!! See the video of the court hearing (in Polish). (photo: Jakub i Dawid on Facebook)
VIENNA, 01 January 2019: Austria celebrates marriage equality! The first regular same-sex couple got married at the beginning of the new year, only five minutes after midnight in Velden/Wörthersee. Read more here (in German). (photo: Paier/Kopaunik via queer.de)
NELFA wishes a Happy New Year!!! We made some challenging experiences in 2018, but we had also a lot of wonderful moments! The NELFA Board works steadily to improve the rights of rainbow families in Europe - for more equality, recognition, protection and acceptance of LGBTIQ* parents (to-be) and their children. See a little summary of our year (in English):Gepostet von NELFA am Freitag, 28. Dezember 2018
BRUSSELS, 01 January 2019: NELFA wishes a Happy New Year!!! We made some challenging experiences in 2018, but we had also a lot of wonderful moments! The NELFA Board works steadily to improve the rights of rainbow families in Europe – for more equality, recognition, protection and acceptance of LGBTIQ* parents (to-be) and their children. See a little summary of our year (in English).
BRUSSELS, 19 December 2018: The NELFA Board wishes you Merry Christmas! Enjoy the time with your (rainbow) families and friends. And, please, stay tuned! NELFA and its member organisations plan some nice events for you in 2019! Very soon, we will confirm the date for our next NELFA Conference in Zagreb (probably 10-11 May 2019) and our Spanish member FLG invites rainbow families to take part in Barcelona Pride (motto: “We are families everywhere”) from 28-29 June 2019…
BERLIN, 19 December 2018: A trans man just filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights. So far, it’s impossible for him to be recognised adequately in the birth certificate of his child. There, he remains as mother. The Constitutional Court rejected the corresponding case in June as unfounded. Read more here (in German). (photo: Pixabay)
BRUSSELS/MONTRÉAL, 15 December 2018: Reseacher Roberta Messina from (Brussels University ULB) has been awarded at a conference in Canada because of her study concerning same-sex adoptive families. NELFA’s member organisations Galehi (Spain), Homoparentalités (Belgium) and apgl (France) contributed to the study. Congratulations, Roberta!! Read more of her findings here (photo: Roberta Messina).
PRAGUE, 14 December 2018: Safe the date! The next Annual Conference of ILGA-Europe, the biggest LGBTIQ* meeting in the region, will take place in Prague from 23-26 October 2019. It will be organised in close cooperation with two local host organisations: Proud and Prague Pride. Read more here (logo: ILGA-Europe)
BERLIN, 13 December 2018: The German Parliament decided on the implementation of a third gender “diverse”. Unfortunately, people concerned can’t do it via self-determination, psychological reports are still mandatory. Read a press release of NELFA’s member organisation LSVD and another statement of OII Europe. (photo: queer.de)
MADRID, 11 December 2018: NELFA Board member Jesús Santos Homobono (Galehi), his husband David and their son Gabriel were interviewed and filmed by Radio Gaga. It’s one of these clear and impressive proofs that children in rainbow families are fine and live a “normal” life. See more here. (photo: Jesús Santos Homobono).
SOFIA, 10 December 2018: NELFA’s full member organisation Desytvie in Bulgaria has received a Human Rights Award for its work. They support for example a French-Australian couple, Cristina and Mariama, who still fight for their right to be recognised as married couple in Bulgaria. Congratulations, Deystvie! (photo: Cristina Palma)
ZAGREB, 06-09 December 2018: NELFA’s full member Dugine obitelji has started another initiative for a full recognition of rainbow families. NELFA President Dominique Boren and Secretary Björn Sieverding will take part in several meetings to raise awareness of current debates in France and Germany, the successful roads to marriage equality and the well-being of children with LGBTIQ* parents. This may help to convince politicians in Croatia to allow foster care for same-sex couples.
TALLINN, 28 November 2018: NELFA welcomes wholeheartedly its first official ally in the Baltics! From now, Eesti LGBT Ühing is a new supporting member of NELFA. The Estonian LGBT Association has been consulting and bringing together rainbow families for years and would like to do that more effectively. (photo: Eesti LGBT Ühing)
GENOVA, 27 November 2018: The mayor of Genova don’t want to accept the co-parent recognition of a lesbian mother and appealed against a corresponding court decision. Rainbow families (including NELFA Board member Giovanni Fantoni from Famiglie Arcobaleno) showed their strong protest during a town council meeting. (photo: Giovanni Fantoni)
BARCELONA, 26-30 November 2018: NELFA’s next Erasmus+ training has just begun, entitled “Inspiring facilitation, teaching and training for LGBT”. It is once again organised by our partner In Dialogue, this time in Barcelona! Our participants from Albania (OMSA) and Serbia (ERA) have an inspiring week in the rooms of NELFA’s member FLG. (photo: Arber Kodra)
PARIS, 22 November 2018: NELFA-President Dominique Boren (Co-chair of our French member apgl) met up with President Emmanuel Macron in Elysee Palace! The aim was to discuss (with 30 NGO’s) an action plan against LGBTIQ*phobia and medically assisted procreation for lesbian couples and single women. Macron confirmed to introduce a bill next year, but without a clear road map. (photo: Dominique Boren, together with apgl Co-chair Marie-Claude Picardat)
ZAGREB, 20 November 2018: NELFA’s full member “Dugine obitelji” called on members of the Croatian parliament to amend the final foster care bill as to enable same-sex couples to be eligible to provide LGBTIQ* foster parenting to children without adequate parental care. Read more. (photo: NELFA Board member Daniel Martinovic, in a TV talk concerning foster care)
COPENHAGEN, 19-23 November 2018: The second training of NELFA’s current Erasmus+ project “Joining forces for the well-being of rainbow families” took place in Denmark’s capital city. Our participant from Russia (LGBT Network) learned a lot about “Conflict management”. The course was organised by our project partner “In Dialogue“. (photo: Regina Dzugkoeva)
BRUSSELS, 19 November 2018: NELFA had the possibility to speak about rainbow families in problematic cross-border situations – before the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs in Brussels. The aim of Board member Björn Sieverding was to urge the institutions to ensure mutual recognition of civil documents like marriage or birth certificates. You will find a video of the hearing here, and a longer version of the presentation. (photo: Björn Sieverding)
SAN MARINO, 16 November 2018: The Republic has just passed a law allowing civil unions for same-sex couples. The Great and General Council voted 40 v. 4 in favor of the regulation. It states: “The civil union is the contract by which a family-like community is governed by two adult individuals of the same sex or different sex in order to organise their life in common”. Read more here. (photo: Luis Cortes Martinez, Unsplash)
AMSTERDAM, 13 November 2018: At least two IVF clinics in the Netherlands are to start offering surrogacy services to gay couples next year (source: De Monitor). One in Leiderdorp will help fertilising a surrogate mother’s own eggs while a second, in Elsendorp, will allow couples to provide an egg from a sister or other family member for a better genetic match. For NELFA’s Dutch member Meer Dan Gewenst this is a “major step forward”. (photo: Despositphotos.com)
BARCELONA, 10 November 2018: NELFA’s full member FLG just organised its cosy autumn meeting. Approximately 200 LGBTIQ* parents and their children met up in the near of Barcelona. (photo: Eleni Maravelia)
MOSCOW, 09 November 2018: LGBTIQ* activists were attacked during their preparation for the 5th annual “LGBTQIAPP+ Family Conference“. The event was already cancelled because the venue managers had received threads. At a nearby shop the activists were sprayed with an acid substance. Two people were injured and had to be treated in hospital. At first, NELFA’s member, the Russian LGBT Network, reported on the attack. Read here another media article. (photo: pinknews.uk)
SOFIA, 08 November 2018: NELFA’s full member Deystvie hosted an international conference, entitled “Love moves towards equality”. The aim was to raise awareness of the difficulties same-sex couples face in Bulgaria and elsewhere, especially with regard to freedom of movement within the EU. Find here some further details. (photo: Veneta Limberova)
SOFIA, 05-09 November 2018: NELFA’s full member organisation Deystvie and others just started a new campaign with the All Out Fund. The petition asks the EU institutions to protect the rights of same-sex couples and rainbow families. Background is the case of Cristina and Mariama, who married in France. But Bulgarian authorities denied Cristina the right to stay.
COPENHAGEN, 05-09 November 2018: NELFA’s current Erasmus+ project “Joining forces for the well-being of rainbow families” is now in the implementation period! The first training course of our partner In Dialogue took place in Denmark’s capital. Or Polish participant learned more about “Clear leadership“. (photo: Joanna Smiecinska)
BRUSSELS, 05 November 2018: MEP Sophie in’t Veld (D66, ALDE) submitted a written question to the European Commission about the implementation of the Coman case. They refer to information (quote “several signals”) that Member States are not fully implementing this judgement. Read more here (in English) and the corresponding question (in Dutch).
BUCHAREST, 31 October 2018: A group of 43 Members of Parliament signed a new bill to legalise civil partnerships in Romania. The draft is supported by several civil society organisations, i.e. Accept Romania. The bill aims at improving the protection of same-sex couples, for example with redard to inheritage, insurance and other related rights and obligations for their family life. Read more here (in Romanian).
PRAGUE, 31 October 2018: The Czech Republic seems to be ready for marriage equality – as first country in Eastern Europe. Today, a first debate on a corresponding law proposal was expected, but unfortunately other issues got between. The initiative Jsme fér reported that the next debate will be on 14th of November. The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights supports the proposal wholeheartedly. See more here. (photo: Jsme fér)
KARLSRUHE, 30 October 2018: NELFA urges the legislator in Germany to change the parentage law as soon as possible. Background is the recent decision of the Federal Court against a lesbian couple. The judges rejected the automatic co-recognition of the non-biological mother and saw no discrimination. Read ore here (in German). (photo: miapowterr/pixabay)
RIGA, 29 October 2018: The Office of the Ombudsman of Latvia issued an opinion calling the Ministry of Justice and the Saeima (parliament) to introduce a framework for the recognition and protection of same-sex families and to review the create a common understanding of the concept and protection of the family in regulatory frameworks. For the LGBTIQ* organisation Mozaika it is a “game-changer”. Read more here. (photo: Ombudsman Latvia)
BRUSSELS, 24-27 October 2018: NELFA attended ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference. Board members Eleni Maravelia (FLG), Dominique Boren (apgl), Daniel Martinovic (Dugine obitelji) and Björn Sieverding (LSVD, Homoparentalités) met up with other activists to discuss rainbow family issues and possible cooperations in the future. NELFA presented the current situation of LGBTQ* parents and their children in a workshop concerning the “Coman case“. You can find a first database on other freedom of movement cases here. (photo: Björn Sieverding)
VIENNA, 24 October 2018: The Constitutional Court has ruled once again in favour of same-sex couples with children. They must be treated equally to different-sex couples, even after their separation. In the present case it was about a lesbian mother who wanted to adopt the couple’s child. Read more here (in German). (photo: VfGH/Achim Bieniek)
SAN VINCENZO, 19-21 October 2018: One of the biggest NELFA member organisations, Famiglie Arcobaleno, just elected a new Executive Board and had a wonderful Annual Meeting in San Vincenzo, Livorno, with hundreds of LGBTIQ* parents and their children! NELFA Board members Giovanni Fantoni and Esteban Jiménez attended the celebration with their families. Love against all recent hatred!!!! Read more here (in Italian). (photo: Famiglie Arcobaleno)
SARAJEVO, 19 October 2018: The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) entity government adopted the request for the legalisation of same-sex marriages! A working group will analyse the regulations which would allow couples concerned to realise their rights stemming from the European Human Rights Convention and propose regulations which need to be adopted on the territory of the FBiH. LGBTIQ* activits welcomed this move. Read more (photo: Boris Kovacev).
WARSAW, 12/18 October 2018: For the first time, a lesbian couple will be able to register their child jointly in Poland. Their son was born in London in 2014. The Polish mother and her female partner tried to register him for a Polish birth certificate, but local administrators rejected the request. Surprisingly, the Supreme Adminstration Court now decided in favour of the rainbow family. Lawyer Anna Mazurczak explains the details of the case here in English. (photo: AP)
VIENNA, 12 October 2018: After a long period of twisting and turning, the right-wing government (ÖVP/FPÖ) accepts the decision of the Constitutional Court from December 2017. Marriage equality will come into effect from 2019 (and civil unions will be possible for both same-sex and different-sex couples). The first lesbian couple (and their son) already celebrated their wedding today. Read more here. (photo: Britta Pedersen, dpa)
VALLADOLID, 11 October 2018: NELFA welcomes a new full member organisation – Fundación Triángulo in Spain! The LGBT organisation was founded in 1996. It has a growing area of families (since 2011) with around 120 members. Fundación Triángulo Familias has organised groups in several regions of Spain, including, Castilla y León, Castilla La Mancha, Madrid, Andalucía and Extremadura. Main aim is to participate in advancing the rights of rainbow families, to exchange knowledge and experiences with other LGBTIQ* families associations. (photo: Christianos Gays, November 2015)
STRASBOURG, 10 October 2018: NELFA is delighted by the recent decision in the Council of Europe! The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) adopted a resolution concerning rainbow families without any amendment. PACE has called for the elimination of all unjustified differences in treatment in the field of private and family life based on grounds of sexual orientation. The Assembly urged states to “work vigorously” to combat prejudice and called for “acceptance and respect” for rainbow families in our societies. The resolution bases on a report written by Jonas Gunnarsson (Sweden, SOC). NELFA contributed to the document on several occasions. (photo: Maria von Känel, Facebook)
GENEVA, 09 October 2018: The IFED Network launched the new Annual Report of the International Family Equality Day 2018. The 7th IFED was held last may in 48 countries and 111 cities. The motto was “Children’s Rights Matter” and drew attention to the dire fact that in most parts of the world, children with LGBTIQ* parents do not enjoy the same rights as children in traditional families. You can support the IFED Annual Report crowdfunding project! (photo: IFED Network).
BUCHAREST/BRUSSELS, 07 October 2018: The boycott of the recent referendum in Romania was successful. The aim was to redefine the term “family” as union between “man and woman” only and to replace the current neutral version “between spouses”. At the end, the plebiscite (which costs around $40 million) failed on low vote turnout. Now, NELFA demands new legislative efforts to recognise rainbow families in Romania. Read the full press release here.
SKOPJE, 03-06 October 2018: NELFA’s new full member ERA (LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey) held its Annual Conference (in FYR Macedonia). It is the biggest LGBTIQ* event in the region since 2015. The conference brought together more than 200 participants. NELFA Board member Daniel Martinovic talked about rainbow families in Croatia and beyond. Read more here (in English). (photo: ERA)
STRASBOURG, 02 October 2018: The Czech Republic violates the human rights of transgender people [forced sterilisation] as guaranteed by the European Social Charter, found a decision that was made public today. The case had been brought jointly by TGEU and ILGA-Europe in cooperation with local activists using the collective complaint mechanism. It is the first transgender discrimination case decided under that procedure. Read TGEU’s press statement here. (photo: CoE)
BRUSSELS/BUCHAREST, 02 October 2018: NELFA supports the boycott of the upcoming referendum in Romania (6-7 October) to redefine family as “union between man and woman” only. Obviously: LOVE makes a family, not a restricted Constitution! ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director Evelyne Paradis calls the referendum “dangerous”. Read more here. And find some more info in this background document or in NELFA’s corresponding press release.
BERN, 01 October 2018: NELFA is happy about the recent development in Switzerland! The National Council has made homophobia and transphobia as illegal as racism in a new vote to change the penal code. Anyone found guilty could receive a jail sentence for up to three years! Read more. (in the photo: National councillor Mathias Reynard who spearheaded the campaign to change the law, Attitude Magazine)