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Gay couple’s joy after ECJ advisor backs bid for Romania marriage recognition

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Gay couple’s joy after ECJ advisor backs bid for Romania marriage recognition
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A gay couple have expressed their delight after getting senior backing for their marriage to be recognised across the EU.

Adrian Coman, from Romania, and Clai Hamilton, an American, got married in Brussels eight years ago.

But because Romania does not recognise same-sex marriage, Hamilton’s bid for a residence permit to live there was refused.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) still needs to rule on the case but the couple have been boosted by the comments of a senior advisor to the institution.

Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said the term "spouse" should include partners of the same sex when it came to the freedom of residence of EU citizens and their family members. 

Judges are not bound by the advocate general's view, but tend to follow it.

"Although member states are free to authorise marriage between persons of the same sex or not, they may not impede the freedom of residence of an EU citizen by refusing to grant his or her spouse of the same sex, a national of a non-EU country," Wathelet said in his opinion.

If the ECJ does rule in the couple’s favour it would pave the way for legal recognition of same-sex marriages to be expanded across Europe.

Hamilton, speaking to Euronews, said: “I feel very happy about today’s developments. We can hopefully now be closer to being recognised as a family. I am grateful this is an opportunity that may lead to me finally one day residing in Romania with my husband.”

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