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'Mutual recognition' policy could force EU nations to recognize same-sex unions

Catholic World News - May 04, 2011

April 30 was the deadline for citizens of the European Union to make their voices and heard with regard to the recent European Commission drive to introduce “automatic mutual recognition” of public documents in all EU states.

Although the measure was promoted as a commendable move to reduce bureaucracy by harmonizing the recognition of public documents across borders, this step might also result in forcing recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions, and the corresponding adoption rights in all EU member-states, noted European Dignity Watch (EDW). EU nations could find themselves under an obligation to recognize same-sex unions even if their own national laws forbid such recognition.

Italy is one of the EU states whose legislation does not provide for homosexual partnerships with adoption rights, and this is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future. As recently as April 29, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledged that, for as long as he remains in place, the Italian parliament will never pass laws at odds with the Christian tradition.

Nevertheless, the EDW points out, if the “automatic mutual recognition” measure is implemented, Italy—and other states with similar policies—would be under pressure to recognize homosexual unions contracted in other EU countries.

Since family law lies within the competence of each member state, and not of the EU, the imposition of a recognition for civil unions would constitute a serious infringement of national sovereignty and a violation of the principle of subsidiarity, the EDW warns. This is precisely the danger posed by the idea of “automatic mutual recognition” of public documents, EDW concludes, as the European Commission seems to suggest.

EDW, based in Brussels, specializes in raising public awareness of actions that affect the three pillars of society: life, the family, and fundamental freedoms.

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