Woman sues Bulgarian authorities for recognition of same-sex marriage

Written by on December 5, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Woman sues Bulgarian authorities for recognition of same-sex marriage

A Bulgarian woman wants the authorities in Sofia to recognise her marriage with another woman. The case is pending in court.

The two ladies, both of them are Bulgarian, got married in the United Kingdom in November of 2016. Afterwards, the plaintiff tried to have her marriage registered in Sofia’s Lyulin district, in order to have her maritial status reflected on her ID card.

But the government agency in charge denied the request, because it is a same-sex marriage. Therefore, the woman is now suing Sofia Municipality. The hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday, December 7.

The lady’s attorney, Denitsa Lyubenova, is part of the organisation “Action”, which helps members of the Bulgarian LGBT community, according to the Bulgarian-language publication huge.bg.

Marriages concluded in a foreign country are regulated in the so-called Code of Private International Law (KMCP), which Denitsa Lyubenova intends to refer to in front of the judge. According to her, that code outlines the grounds for international competence of foreign authorities.

“If these requirements are met, such jurisdiction is established and the marriage in question must be recognized in Bulgaria,” the lawyer told huge.bg. She says, if this marriage is not registered in Bulgaria, this could have legal consequences of different kinds, such as false declarations or issues with taxes.

At the same time, Lyubenova sees discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recently ruled that “objective and reasonable justification” is required when same-sex couples are treated differently, compared to heterosexual couples.

This court case could become a precedent.

At this stage, 15 European countries recognise same-sex marriages. They are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Bulgaria is obviously not one of them.

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com