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Civil Union

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Journal Article - Case Comment

Civil unions - exclusion of same-sex couples.
E.H.R.L.R. 2014, 2, 179-184 [European Human Rights Law Review] Publication Date: 2014 Subject: Family law. Other related subjects: Human rights Keywords: Civil partnerships; Greece; Right to respect for private and family life; Same sex partners; Sexual orientation discrimination Abstract: Comments on the European Court of Human Rights decision in Vallianatos v Greece (29381/09) on whether a Greek law affording legal recognition to civil unions between unmarried heterosexual couples but not same sex couples breached the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 arts 8 and 14. Notes that the court did not assess whether Greece had a positive obligation to introduce civil unions for same sex couples. Considers the potential implications of the ruling for the civil partnership institution in England and Wales. Legislation Cited: European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.8 European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.14 Cases Cited: Vallianatos v Greece (29381/09) Unreported November 7, 2013 (ECHR (Grand Chamber))
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European Human Rights Law Review

Case Comment Civil unions - exclusion of same-sex couples
Subject: Family law. Other related subjects: Human rights Keywords: Civil partnerships; Greece; Right to respect for private and family life; Same sex partners; Sexual orientation discrimination Legislation: European Convention on Human Rights European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.14 Case: Vallianatos v Greece (29381/09) Unreported November 7, 2013 (ECHR (Grand Chamber))

*E.H.R.L.R. 179 Vallianatos v Greece (Application Nos 29381/09 and 32684/09)
European Court of Human Rights (Grand Chamber): Judgment of November 7, 2013

The first and second, third and fourth, and fifth and sixth applicants lived together as couples in Athens. The seventh and eighth applicants were in a relationship but for professional and social reasons they did not live together, although the eighth applicant did pay the seventh applicant’s social-security contributions. The ninth applicant was "Synthessi —Information Awareness-raising and Research", a not-for-profit organisation whose aims included providing psychological and moral support to gay men and lesbians. In November 2008, Greek Law No.3719/2008 entitled "Reforms concerning the family, children and society" entered into force and introduced civil unions as an alternative form of officially recognised partnership to marriage. Section 1 of the law stated that only two different-sex adults could enter into a civil union. The law dealt with various aspects of entering into a civil union including financial relations (s.6), maintenance obligations after dissolution of a civil union (s.7), presumption of paternity (s.8), parental responsibility (s.10) and inheritance rights (s.11). The explanatory report on Law No.3719/2008 stated that it was intended to address cohabitation outside of marriage and to allow people to register their relationship within a more flexible legal framework than *E.H.R.L.R. 180 marriage. The report stated that 5 per cent of children born in Greece were born to couples living in de facto partnerships and that women who were left without support after long periods of cohabitation and single-parent families generally were major issues in Greece that required a legislative response. The report noted that civil unions would only be available to different-sex adults but did not elaborate on the reasons for this. Under Greek law, the state is liable in tort for unlawful acts or omissions, including acts which are not in principle enforceable through the courts. The only condition for the admissibility of a claim for damages against the state is that the act or omission in question is unlawful. Nevertheless, the applicants did not challenge the compatibility of Law No.3719/2008 with arts 8 and 14 before the Greek national courts. The applicants complained that by excluding same-sex couples from entering into civil unions, the respondent State had breached their rights under art.14 taken in conjunction with art.8. The applicants also alleged that the respondent State had breached art.13 because there was no effective remedy available to them in the domestic courts. On September 11, 2012 a Chamber of the Court relinquished jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber.

The complaints under art.14 taken in conjunction with art.8 in respect of the first eight applicants were


admissible (by a majority) and the remainder of the applications were inadmissible. The Court rejected the respondent State’s argument that the first eight applicants were not victims within the meaning of art.34. They were individuals of full age who were in same-sex relationships and in some cases cohabited. As a result of the scope of Law No.3719/2008 they could not enter into a civil union and organise their relationship accordingly; therefore, they were directly concerned by the situation and had a legitimate personal interest in seeing it brought to an end. However, the Court accepted that the ninth applicant, a not-for-profit organisation whose chief aim was to provide psychological and moral support to gay men and lesbians, was not a victim. The complaint concerned the fact that Law No.3719/2008 denied same-sex couples the opportunity to enter into a civil union and, as it was a legal entity, the ninth applicant could not be considered a direct or indirect victim. The Court rejected the respondent State’s argument that the applicants had failed to exhaust domestic remedies because they could have challenged the compatibility of the law by way of an interlocutory application in a claim for compensation against the state. The applicants were complaining of a continuing breach of their rights and a claim for compensation, which could not oblige the respondent State to amend the offending law, would not offer sufficient redress. Furthermore, the domestic courts applied the law on state liability restrictively and none of the cases cited concerned an issue comparable to the current case. The respondent State had failed to show that a claim for compensation would be an effective and sufficient domestic remedy. The Court reiterated that art.13 does not guarantee a remedy allowing a state’s laws to be challenged before a national authority on the grounds that they are incompatible with the Convention. The applicants’ complaint under art.13 was incompatible with this principle and therefore it was manifestly ill-founded. There had been a violation of art.14 taken in conjunction with art.8 (by sixteen votes to one). The Court noted that the applicants formed stable same-sex couples and it was not disputed that their relationships fell within the concept of "private life" in art.8. The Court reiterated its decision in Schalk and Kopf that, in view of the rapid evolution in a number of member states regarding the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, it would be artificial to *E.H.R.L.R. 181 maintain that a same-sex couple could not enjoy "family life" for the purposes of art.8. Accordingly the applicants’ relationships fell within the concepts of "private life" and "family life". Furthermore, there was no basis for distinguishing in this regard between those applicants who lived together and those who did not, as this did not affect the stability that brings their relationships within the scope of "family life". The Court clarified that it was not considering in the abstract whether there was a general positive obligation on the respondent State to provide legal recognition of same-sex relationships. It was only considering whether the law introduced by the respondent State that established a new form of civil union available only to different-sex couples was compatible with arts 8 and 14. The Court found that the applicants were in a comparable situation to different-sex couples wishing to enter into a civil union under Law No.3719/2008 in respect of their need for legal recognition and protection of their relationship: same-sex couples are just as capable as different-sex couples of entering into stable and committed relationships and they have the same needs in terms of mutual support and assistance. Furthermore, there was a clear difference in treatment based on sexual orientation as Law No.3719/2008 limited civil unions to different-sex couples. The respondent State argued that the difference in treatment was justified because: i) same-sex couples could manage their property status, financial relations and inheritance using ordinary contract law; and ii) Law No.3719/2008 was intended to protect children born outside of marriage, protect single parent families, allow parents to raise their children without being obliged to marry and strengthen the institutions of marriage and the family in the traditional sense, and these aims were not relevant to same-sex couples who were not capable of having biological children together. The Court dismissed the first argument because it did not take account of the intrinsic value to same-sex couples of having their relationship legally recognised by the state. Entering into a civil union would be the only opportunity available to the applicants to have their relationship legally recognised; therefore, same-sex couples would have a particular interest in entering into a civil union. As regards the second argument, the Court accepted that protection of the family in the traditional sense and protection of the interests of children are, in principle, weighty and legitimate aims which might justify a difference in treatment. However, the respondent State had failed to show that it was


necessary to prevent same-sex couples entering into civil unions in order to achieve those aims. Notwithstanding the title and stated aims of Law No.3719/2008, it was first and foremost intended to afford legal protection to a form of relationship other than marriage. It was not limited to regulating the status of children born outside of marriage but also dealt with financial relations, maintenance on dissolution and inheritance. It would have been possible for the law to include some provisions dealing specifically with children born outside of marriage, while at the same time allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. The Court noted that, while there was no consensus among the Council of Europe member states, a trend was emerging regarding the introduction of legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Nine member states allowed for same-sex marriage and seventeen authorised some form of civil partnership for same-sex couples. Lithuania and Greece were the only member states to have a form of registered partnership other than marriage that was limited to opposite-sex couples. The fact that Greece found itself in an isolated position did not necessarily mean that its law was incompatible with the Convention. However, it had failed *E.H.R.L.R. 182 to provide convincing and weighty reasons capable of justifying the exclusion of same-sex couples from entering into civil unions. Therefore, there had been a violation of art.14 taken in conjunction with art.8. The respondent State was to pay each applicant €5,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

Cases considered
A. B. and C. v Ireland (2011) 53 E.H.R.R. 13 Abdulaziz v United Kingdom (1985) 7 E.H.R.R. 471 Akdivar v Turkey (1997) 23 E.H.R.R. 143 Aksu v Turkey (2013) 56 E.H.R.R. 4 Anakomba Yula v Belgium (App. No.45413/07), judgment of March 10, 2009 Ananyev v Russia (2012) 55 E.H.R.R. 18 Brauer v Germany (2010) 51 E.H.R.R. 23 Broniowski v Poland (2005) 40 E.H.R.R. 21 Burden v United Kingdom (2008) 47 E.H.R.R. 38 Burdov v Russia (No.2) (2009) 49 E.H.R.R. 2 Carabulea v Romania (App. No.45661/99), judgment of July 13, 2010 Creang# v Romania (2013) 56 E.H.R.R. 11 Cyprus v Turkey (2002) 35 E.H.R.R. 30 De Wilde v Belgium (1979–80) 1 E.H.R.R. 373 Defalque v Belgium (App. No.37330/02), judgment of April 20, 2006 Demicoli v Malta (1992) 14 E.H.R.R. 47 D.H. v Czech Republic (2008) 47 E.H.R.R. 3 Do#an v Turkey (2005) 41 E.H.R.R. 15 Duda v France (App. No.37387/05), decision of March 17, 2009 Dudgeon v United Kingdom (1982) 4 E.H.R.R. 149. Dumitru Popescu v Romania (No.2) (App. No.71525/01), judgment of April 26, 2007 E.B. v France (2008) 47 E.H.R.R. 21 F. v Switzerland (1988) 10 E.H.R.R. 411


Fabris v France (2013) 57 E.H.R.R. 19 Fédération chrétienne des témoins de Jéhovah de France v France (App. No.53430/99), decision of November 6, 2011 Findlay v United Kingdom (1997) 24 E.H.R.R. 221 Fressoz v France (2001) 31 E.H.R.R. 2 Fretté v France (2004) 38 E.H.R.R. 21 Gas v France (App. No.25951/07), judgment of March 15, 2012 Goodwin v United Kingdom (2002) 35 E.H.R.R. 18 Hasan v Bulgaria (2002) 34 E.H.R.R. 55 Hasan v Turkey (2008) 46 E.H.R.R. 44 #çyer v Turkey (App. No.18888/02), decision of January 12, 2006 Ireland v United Kingdom (1979–80) 2 E.H.R.R. 25 James v United Kingdom (1986) 8 E.H.R.R. 123 Johnston v Ireland (1987) 9 E.H.R.R. 203 Kanagaratnam v Belgium (2012) 55 E.H.R.R. 26 Karner v Austria (2004) 38 E.H.R.R. 24 Kart v Turkey (App. No.8917/05), judgment of July 8, 2008 Klass v Germany (1979–80) 2 E.H.R.R. 214 *E.H.R.L.R. 183 Kozak v Poland (2010) 51 E.H.R.R. 16 Kud#a v Poland (2002) 35 E.H.R.R. 11 L. v Lithuania (2008) 46 E.H.R.R. 22 L. v Austria (2003) 36 E.H.R.R. 55 Lizarraga v Spain (2007) 45 E.H.R.R. 45 Lukenda v Slovenia (2008) 47 E.H.R.R. 32 M. v Bulgaria (App. No.41416/08), judgment of July 26, 2011 Maestri v Italy (2004) 39 E.H.R.R. 38 Malone v United Kingdom (1985) 7 E.H.R.R. 14 Mandi# v Slovenia (App. Nos 5774/10 and 5985/10), judgment of October 20, 2011 Manole v Moldova (App. No.13936/02), judgment of September 17, 2009 Manoussakis v Greece (1997) 23 E.H.R.R. 387 Marckx v Belgium (1979–80) 2 E.H.R.R. 330 McFarlane v Ireland (2011) 52 E.H.R.R. 20 Michaud v France (App. No.12323/11), judgment of December 6, 2012 Modinos v Cyprus (1993) 16 E.H.R.R. 485 Norris v Ireland (1991) 13 E.H.R.R. 186 Odièvre v France (2004) 38 E.H.R.R. 43


Open Door Counselling and Dublin Well Woman v Ireland (1993) 15 E.H.R.R. 244 Paksas v Lithuania (App. No.34932/04), judgment of January 6, 2011 Palaoro v Austria (2001) 32 E.H.R.R. 10 P.B. and J.S. v Austria (2012) 55 E.H.R.R. 31 Petrovic v Austria (2001) 33 E.H.R.R. 14 Pulatli v Turkey (App. No.38665/07), judgment of April 26, 2011 Ramadhi v Albania (2009) 48 E.H.R.R. 16 Roche v United Kingdom (2006) 42 E.H.R.R. 30 Runkee and White v United Kingdom (App. Nos 42949/98 and 53134/99), judgment of May 10, 2007 Salah v Netherlands (2007) 44 E.H.R.R. 55 Salgueiro da Silva Mouta v Portugal (2001) 31 E.H.R.R. 47 Sampanis v Greece (App. No.32526/05), judgment of June 5, 2008 SARL du Parc d’Activités de Blotzheim v France (App. No.72377/01), judgment of July 11, 2006 Schalk v Austria (2011) 53 E.H.R.R. 20 Sejdi# v Bosnia and Herzegovina (App. Nos 27996/06 and 34836/06), judgment of December 22, 2009 S.L. v Austria (App. No.45330/99), decision of November 22, 2001 S.L. v Austria (2003) 37 E.H.R.R. 39 Smith and Grady v United Kingdom (2000) 29 E.H.R.R. 493 Soto Sanchez v Spain (App. No.66990/01), judgment of November 25, 2003 Stec v United Kingdom (2006) 43 E.H.R.R. 47 T#nase v Moldova (2011) 53 E.H.R.R. 22 Tourkiki Enosi Xanthis v Greece (App. No.26698/05), judgment of March 27, 2008 Tyrer v United Kingdom (1979–80) 2 E.H.R.R. 1 United Communist Party of Turkey v Turkey (1998) 26 E.H.R.R. 121 Vassis v France (App. No.62736/09), judgment of June 27, 2013 Vermeire v Belgium (1993) 15 E.H.R.R. 488 Via#u v Romania (App. No.75951/01), judgment of December 9, 2008 Vin#i# v Serbia (App. No.44698/06), judgment of December 1, 2009 *E.H.R.L.R. 184 Von Hannover v Germany (No.2) (2012) 55 E.H.R.R. 15 Wintersberger v Austria (App. No.57448/00), decision of May 27, 2003 X. v Austria (2013) 57 E.H.R.R. 14 X. and Y. v the Netherlands (1986) 8 E.H.R.R. 235 Xenides-Arestis v Turkey (2011) 52 E.H.R.R. 16

This judgment is a welcome step forward in preventing discrimination on the grounds of sexual


orientation and securing equal rights for same-sex couples in relation to the legal recognition of relationships. In line with the developing trend in Europe, the Court made it clear that if a state introduces a form of registered partnership in addition to marriage for different-sex couples it must at the very least put forward cogent reasons for not making it available to same-sex couples. The Court also re-affirmed its decision in Schalk and Kopf that same-sex relationships come within the concept of "family life". However, the Court was careful not to step too far and made it very clear that it was not considering whether there was a positive obligation on the Greek authorities to introduce civil unions for same-sex couples—a question which was also left open in Schalk and Kopf because Austria introduced registered partnerships for same-sex couples after the applicants had lodged their application. Therefore, the impact of the judgment should not be overstated, as it will only apply to states that choose to introduce some form of registered partnership. Judges Casadevall, Ziemele, Jo#ien# and Sicilianos gave a concurring opinion in which they explained why they found a breach of art.14 taken in conjunction with art.8 in this case, but voted against finding such a violation in X. v Austria, even though both cases concerned discrimination based on sexual orientation. They noted that X. v Austria concerned the possibility of the applicant adopting her partner’s child, which raised delicate issues regarding the best interests of the child and the other biological parent’s rights. In contrast, the extension of civil unions to same-sex couples would not raise such issues. They also considered that the laws of the member states in relation to second parent adoption by unmarried couples were sharply divided, whereas there was a very clear trend towards making registered partnerships available to same-sex couples. Judge Pinto de Albuquerque gave a partly dissenting opinion in which he agreed with the respondent State’s argument that the applicants’ had failed to exhaust their domestic remedies and therefore found that all of the complaints were inadmissible. He noted that the applicants did not even try to lodge their claim before the national courts and argued that the Greek courts would have been able to provide an effective remedy by applying Law No.3719/2008 to same-sex couples. The decision in this case could potentially have implications for civil partnerships in England and Wales. When the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 enters into force, both different-sex and same-sex couples will be able to marry, whereas only same-sex couples will be able to enter into a civil partnership. This is a clear difference in treatment based on sexual orientation between people who arguably, following the introduction of same-sex marriage, will be in a comparable situation. However, in December 2013, the European Court of Human Rights decided that the case of Ferguson v United Kingdom (App. No.8254/11), which argued this point, was inadmissible. The decision was made by a single judge and no reasons were given beyond the Court’s opinion that the admissibility criteria set out in arts 34 and 35 were not met. The Government is conducting a review of the future of civil partnerships which will need to take note of this judgment. E.H.R.L.R. 2014, 2, 179-184
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...Name of the Organization: United Auto Workers Union Brief background information Aside from the union that employs almost half the employees of the company I’m currently employed by, the only other union I am aware of that is still unionized is the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). The UAW website classifies the Union as "one of the largest and most diverse unions in North America, with members in virtually every sector of the economy. It represented workplaces ranging from multinational corporations, small manufacturers and state and local governments to colleges and universities, hospitals and private non-profit organizations". What's more, the Union "has more than 390,000 active members and more than 600,000 retired members are in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico". (UAW, 2012) Legal issues and obstacles that this organization could encounter In the beginning years of the union, the union was faced with work stoppages and strikes. These occurrences affected the output of a company, the worker’s salary and the economy in general. Determine which federal, state, or local laws could be broken because of these legal issues and why. Laws violated by wildcat strikes and work stoppages: The Norris–La Guardia Act (also known as the Anti-Injunction Bill) was a 1932 United States federal law that banned yellow-dog contracts, prevented federal courts from issuing injunctions......

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...Unions Fay Stewart Human Capital Management HRM/531 February 28, 2012 Dennis Heins Unions Unions began to form in the United States in the mid-19th century. During this time unions were seen as criminal that engaged in violence and vandalism. Two centuries later, unions are seen as a force for employees receiving what is just due. In 2011 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker introduced a bill that became law to strip public workers of some or all of their collective bargaining rights. Unions have many benefits and the process to become unionized is long. Once a union is established they will use collective bargaining to assist their members in receiving a labor contract. The relationship between the union and employer is a continuous process. Wisconsin Public Workers The State of Wisconsin public workers unions came in to fire when Governor Scott Walker took office. Walker campaigned on fighting for the everyday normal residents; the people who do not have a taxpayer supplied union mechanism. Governor Walker took notice that Wisconsin and other states have public employee pension plans that have escalated out of control and the disruptions to the governments it has and will cause in the form of fiscal damage. Wisconsin’s budget problems started when a series of tax cuts began in 2003 and in 2011 bills passed to provide additional tax cuts and deductions for businesses. Tax cuts have led to a budget shortfall, which led to the Governor introducing the Budget......

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