European Family Law Volume III
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European Family Law Volume III

Family Law in a European Perspective

Edited by Jens M. Scherpe

This four-volume set maps the emerging European family law. It is intended to serve as a resource for anyone interested in this area of law, as well as a basis for teaching on comparative and international family law courses. The first volume examines the impact of institutions and organisations on European family law. While there is no European body that could actually legislate definitively on family law, there are some institutions that have a direct impact on European family law, while the impact of others is more indirect. In the second volume the changing concept of ‘family’ and challenges for domestic family law are analysed in 21 different jurisdictions, in 16 chapters. All contributions look at ‘horizontal’ family law (the law concerning the relationships between adults), ‘vertical’ family law (the law concerning the relationships of adults and children) as well an ‘individual’ family law (the law on names and gender identity). In the third volume the contributions take a comparative view on specific issues from a European perspective. The fourth volume, which works as a stand-alone monograph, draws on all of the previous chapters, and discusses the present and future of European family law. It establishes areas where ‘institutional’ European family law exists – in the sense that there are binding legal rules for all European jurisdictions – for example, as a result of a decision by the European Court of Human Rights. It also identifies areas where, as a result of common legal and social developments for ‘horizontal’, ‘vertical’ and ‘individual’ family law, an ‘organic’ European family law is emerging and suggests how family laws in Europe are going to develop in the future.
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Chapter 4: Same-sex relationships in a European perspective

Ian Curry-Sumner


Change is a funny thing. We are never quite sure what we are becoming or even why. Then one day we look at ourselves and wonder who we are and how we got that way. In 1990, who would ever have thought that there would come a time when a generation of new law students starting university would not even question the eligibility of same-sex couples to marry? And yet, that time has already arrived. The majority of students embarking upon a legal education at a Dutch university in September 2015 were four years old when Job Cohen, the Mayor of Amsterdam, celebrated the first-ever State endorsed same-sex marriage in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For these students, the existence of same-sex marriage is oftentimes as much a given as the need to criminalise murderers or the need for a National Parliament. Yet, the road to this point in time has not been one without its trials and tribulations. In this chapter, an attempt will be made to briefly outline the current state of the law with regard to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Europe (see section 2). This comparative synopsis will form the basis upon which a more theoretical framework will be discussed (see section 3). Such a theoretical framework will provide academics and legislatures alike with a template to discuss the issues related to these new phenomena in a structured and purposeful manner.

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