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Gay Romanian-American couple win EU residency rights

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
 Gay Romanian-American couple win EU residency rights

The European Court of Justice has ruled that a gay Romanian-American couple is entitled to the same residency rights as other married couples in the European Union.

Romanian Adrian Coman and his American husband Claibourn Robert Hamilton, have fought a six-year legal battle to get their marriage in Belgium legally recognized in Romania.

"I am so excited, that we are one step closer to being recognized as a family," Claibourn Robert Hamilton said.

And his husband Adrian also said he wants their marriage to be recognised.

"We cannot be something else than married, and we hope that it is only a matter of time until Romania finds a form of recognition," he said.

Their lawyer described how the ruling might affect other six EU states, Poland Latvia Lithuania Slovakia Bulgaria Romania.

"The decision is particularly important for the 6 member states - which right now do not have legislation either recognizing same-sex marriages or providing for civil partnerships," Romaniţa Iordache said.

In pratical terms the ruling means that as a non-EU citizen Robert Claibourn Hamilton will have employment rights and health benefits, previously denied to him, as Coman’s spouse.

Romania only decriminalized homosexuality in 2002.