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Deystvie goes European: The fight for Baby Sara's rights is now a fight for European legislation



Regulation on mutual recognition of parenthood in cross-border cases


Parentage is the civil status that governs the legal family relationship between a child and his or her parents. While the establishment of parentage is governed by national family law, the recognition of parentage already established abroad is usually dealt with in the rules of private international law. This status underlies many rights, i.e. acquisition of nationality, residence, maintenance and inheritance.


Refusal to recognise parentage may leave a child stateless, result refusing the parent to authorise a medical procedure for the child in hospital or to enrol the child in school, or also separate children from one of their parents in cases of child abduction where the Member State to which the child has been taken does not recognise the parental ties of the parent requesting the return of the child. Thus, a State's refusal to recognise parentage established abroad can have severe consequences for children and their families.


These are all cases that Deystvie has been working on for years, and they have finally been heard in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Today, November 23, 2022 Denitsa Lyubenova, lawyer and Director of the Legal Program of LGBTI Deystvie, and Veneta Limberova, Chairperson of the organization, together with the LGBTIQ Intergroup of the European Parliament, organized and participated in a press conference on the rights of parents within the European Union in the case of mixed LGBTI families from different countries exercising their right to free movement.

While substantive law on parentage is within the scope of Member States' family law, the Union may adopt family law measures with cross-border implications under Article 81(3) TFEU. On 14 April 2021, the European Commission published an initial impact assessment on a Regulation on the recognition of parentage between Member States and held a public consultation from 19 May to 25 August 2021.


In its Resolution on the rights of LGBTIQ people in the EU of 14 September 2021, the European Parliament called on the European Commission to propose legislation requiring all Member States to recognise, for the purposes of national law, adults listed on a birth certificate issued in another Member State as the legal parents of a child, regardless of the legal gender or marital status of the adults.


In order to highlight the importance of the issues raised in the case before the ECJ C-490/20 (the Baby Sara case), led by LGBTI Deystvie's legal team, the European Parliament Intergroup, with the help of MEPs and LGBTI Deystvie's legal team, raised several issues that have been added to the agenda of the Parliament's session today - 23 November 2022. This is of crucial importance for the legislative initiative that the Commission will present on 7 December 2022 in its Equality Package. This package includes a Regulation on mutual recognition of parenthood in cross-border cases.

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