Equal rights for all families: applying human rights principles in national and EU policy-making


This article briefly describes the developments of the European human rights doctrine over the last 20 years as regards the right to family life of gay, lesbian and bisexual people. It shows how their couples and parenting relations are now clearly seen as protected under the notion of family life. The article then explores the way national governments and parliaments across the EU have dealt with this historical movement towards equality. The authors eventually identify the policy areas in which EU institutions, despite their limited competences in the area of family law, have a competence and a duty to act, and they make recommendations in that respect.

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