It’s time to end discrimination against rainbow families, says PACE committee

Declaring it “crucial and urgent” that European States overcome the discrimination experienced by both adults and children in rainbow families, a PACE committee 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.

Unanimously approving a report by Jonas Gunnarsson (Sweden, SOC) at a meeting today in Paris, PACE’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination said legal systems needed to acknowledge the reality that same-sex couples and other rainbow families existed throughout Europe and had “the same needs as any other family”.

In a draft resolution, the committee said states should align their laws and constitutions with the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights by ensuring same-sex couples had a “specific legal framework providing for the recognition and protection of their unions”, and the same rights as regards succession to a tenancy and health insurance cover.

Same-sex partners should also have access without discrimination to rights concerning residence, citizenship, family reunion, medical care, property and inheritance, the committee said. Parents and children in rainbow families should also be able to access rights without discrimination when it comes to parental authority, adoption, recognition of children and medically assisted procreation.

Birth certificates should reflect the correct gender identity of transgender parents, while people who use legal gender markers other than male or female should be able to have their partnerships and relationships with children recognised without discrimination.

Finally, the committee urged states to “work vigorously” to combat prejudice on issues of sexual orientation or gender identity, and called for “acceptance and respect” for rainbow families in our societies.

The report is due to be debated by the Assembly on Wednesday 10 October, during its Autumn plenary session.