Regarding the Marriage Recognition Act

  • Councillors, in accordance with the recommendations of the former Internal Affairs Commissioner Kilroy-Silk, I bring forward the Marriage Recognition Act for consideration. 

    Upon reading the legislation, I do agree that it must either receive several amendments or a complete repeal and rewrite.

    Marriage Recognition Act
    Article I: Purpose and Definitions
    Section I
    This Act aims to ensure the recognition of marriages and civil unions formed in one European Union member state in all member states.
    Section II
    To clarify, this Act does not force member states otherwise alter their laws related to marriage and/or civil unions.
    Section III
    For the purposes of this Act, we define the used terms as follows:
    (i) marriage: a social union or legal contract between people called spouses that establishes rights and obligations between the spouses, between the spouses and their children, and between the spouses and their in-laws;
    (ii) civil union: a legally recognized form of partnership similar to marriage.
    Article II: Regulations
    Section I
    Member states of the European Union are hereby required to recognize the marriages and civil unions of foreign nationals of other EU member states when their marriage or civil union has been lawfully formed in their country of origin.
    (i) This does not obligate a member state to allow the same types of marriages and civil unions to be formed in their country.
    Section II
    (i] Member states shall treat couples lawfully joined together by a ceremony of either marriage or civil union from without the jurisdiction of the member state, with the same rights as those couples who have been lawfully joined together by a ceremony of either marriage or civil union from within the jurisdiction of the member state.
    (ii) Member states shall neither discriminate nor permit discrimination against couples lawfully joined together by a ceremony of either marriage or civil union from without the jurisdiction of the member state on the grounds that the ceremony would not be lawful within the member state.
    Article III: Enforcement
    Section I
    All member states of the European Union are required to harmonize their national law(s) with this Act in 12 months of time from its approval by the European Council.
    Section II
    Violations of this Act may be tried in the European Court of Justice.
    Authored By: Nadira Orcello Presented By: Adele Este

    In general principle, the law is rather confused and some of the text needs an overhaul. I also believe we could do better and be more specific as to what recognition allows. For example, does the member nation offer tax benefits to married persons or do they have other authority as power of attorney and the right to inherit their spouse's belongings in the absence of a will? These things need clarification within the legislation.

    I am also shocked to see that while the law mentions no discrimination against married persons, it does not say against whom. Given that the majority of Europeans subscribe to a heterosexual relationship, I can only infer that this is intended to protect couples of the same sex, different religions and races, etc. It does need to be more defined than that, or else we could see some thorny legal challenges and issues from the way the law is currently written.

    The European Council does not exist to enforce laws, that is the European Commission's domain. The European Council is a deliberative body charged with making legislation at a regional level, so I would propose that Article III, Section I be changed to represent the real life application that the European Commission must approve and report back to the European Council that the law has been followed.

    These are my suggestions as based on the audit conducted previously, and it is long overdue that we take a look at this law as the first of many that deserve and demand a re-write before I as Internal Affairs Commissioner can adequately see if this law is being followed. 

    Chelsea Clinton-Mezvinsky

    Internal Affairs Commissioner

    Statement read in the European Council by Gary Quinlan, Councillor for the Federal Republic of Australia

  • Comissioners, as our Internal Affairs Comissioner have said I am also shocked to see that while the law mentions no discrimination against married persons, it does not say against whom.  And I see also that the law is rather confusing, we could do better and be more specific as to what recognition allows. 

    We as a nation believe that our laws should be judged by their merit, not by some arbitrary sense of tradition or absurd belief which probably cannot be defended on a logical basis. We are not in favor of the reservation to member states the right to define, recognize, support, or regulate marriages, domestic partnerships, and similar relationships, because this is outrageous our Kingdom stands for the guidance that the our European Union has in the protection of LGBT rights and their right to marriage!

    We are big and vast and diverse Union; a Union of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, different experiences and stories, but bound by our shared ideal that no matter who you are or what you look like, how you started off, or how and who you love, the European Union is a place where you can write your own destiny in your country. 

    We are a people who believe that every single child is entitled to a life of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There’s so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of what our European Union is, to every European. Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights, and that the Kingdom of Montenbourg would be a leader in defending those rights, marriage equality is one of this universal rights that our Union must Defend!

    Thats why we call a repeal and rewrite, or in its case add:

    The European Union,

    BELIEVING that our Union is a progressive institution,

    UNDERSTANDING that due to social or cultural objections, for example religious beliefs, some nations are opposed to marriage equality,

    HOWEVER DISREGARDING these objections because equality, equity, and fairness should triumph over individual belief systems,


    MANDATES that no member state that recognises marriage as a legal institution which confers any responsibilities, benefits, rights, or privileges exclusively to those that enter said institution, may forbid two consenting adults from contracting a marriage, based on their gender or sex, religion or creed, orientation, race or nationality, or on their ethnic or social status;

    PERMITS member states to regulate all other requirements for, and rights and privileges derived from, marriage in accordance with their own laws and applicable European Union acts, provided that such remain equal for all individuals regardless of gender, sex or orientation.

    Lady Emma Granger , 2th Baroness of Montague

    His Majesty Councillor to the European Union

    Statement read in the European Council.

  • Admin

    Angleter's new European Councillor, Cllr Judith Gibbon, stood to speak

    I'd like to thank Commissioner Clinton-Mezvinsky for initiating this discussion.

    I'll first point out that Angleter is not here to have same-sex marriage forced on it at European level, nor are we here to have a barrage of insults thrown at our laws. We are a liberal European democracy just as much as any of you are, and the sovereign will of our people and Parliament is not 'absurd,' or 'arbitrary,' or 'outrageous,' or an 'individual belief system' that should be 'disregarded'. That's not what anybody sent me here for.

    So I can tell everyone now that we will not accept this process leading to the imposition, EU-wide, of same-sex marriage. Regardless of the merits of same-sex marriage itself, that is exactly the road that my predecessors have opposed this region going down. Angleter has stood against EU-imposed same-sex marriage, just as it has stood against EU-imposed legal cannabis, or EU-imposed nuclear disarmament, or EU-imposed abolition of the death penalty.

    I prefer, as a rule, the collective wisdom of millions of citizens in a nation-state over the collective wisdom of a handful of Councillors in Europolis. What replaces this legislation must respect that.

    So what's wrong with this legislation is it's basically unclear and full of holes. What if an Angleteric couple get married in the UK and then go to the Duxburian Union? Now, their marriage is not lawfully formed in their country of origin, so, theoretically, they can't expect to be covered by this law.

    That's one example. There's also the issue of whether a marriage in Angleter must be recognised as a marriage by the Duxburian authorities, or whether the Duxburians could classify it as a civil union instead. Or vice versa. Not all countries have civil unions, after all. And then there's the issue of the rights afforded to married couples or couples in civil unions - especially with civil unions, these can vary quite considerably from country to country. The law would fail, quite frankly, if a couple in a civil union in Angleter, where that affords virtually the same rights and privileges as marriage, were to move to a country which offered couples in a civil union considerably fewer such rights, and then found themselves losing many of the rights they enjoyed in Angleter. At the same time, we cannot simply harmonise the rights and privileges afforded by marriages and civil unions across the entire EU, not least because our countries have wildly differing welfare systems.

    I will hold off on putting forward any amendments or draft replacement laws yet, but I think there is scope to tighten up the law and use clearer language, and also to refocus it towards preventing abuses where a country essentially retains the name 'marriage' or 'civil union', but offers few of the benefits offered in other member states. I'd be interested to see what other Councillors have to say before drafting anything.

  • Councillor Sabrina Willow stands to make her address clearly motivated by Cllr Judith Gibbon's comments

    As most people are aware Onimbus is very much in favor of this legislation, I see it as something that needs to be addressed and should have been addressed years ago. But, we have people like Councillor Gibbon who do not see the irony in her statement. If a marriage between a man and a woman were to move to Angleter I would assume that their relationship as man and wife would be recognized although they were married in Onimbus, whether it is a civil union or a marriage it does not matter you would give them the same benefits as any other couple if they became citizens of your country. If this is true for most of our countries that we would allow the marriage between a man and a woman to have these rights then why would we not extend this right to same sex marriages? It seems that Councillor Gibbon would prefer that you not think of this point. I am in favor of this law in its current position and hope that in the future Councillor Gibbon will think of the irony in her statements before wasting our time again with her beliefs that exclude citizens from their basic rights of loving another.

  • Admin

    Even though the period of debate has started, I will allow it to continue a further 24 hours. 

    Debate on this legislation begins NOW and ends at 15:30 GMT on 17th February;
    Amendments (if applicable) would be voted on from then to 15:30 GMT on 18th February;
    And voting on the final form would begin then and end at 15:30 GMT on 19th January.

    Sir Edward Mountain

    Speaker of the European Council

  • Councillor Emma Granger stands to make her re-address clearly motivated by Cllr's Judith Gibbon and Sabrina Willow's comments

    Councillors, no union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. And in forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners outside of this doors demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. Our European Constitution grants them that right.

    The central question Comissioners is really what kind of Europe we want to be and what kind of future we’ll build together. And "Laissez-Faire, Laissez-Passer" comments such as some nations here present will not make better our European Union, prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from marrying is inherently discriminatory and therefore violates our European constitution and the principles which our Union stands for. We as Europeans must guarantee equal protection under our laws to all groups of people. This means that member states can't exclude gay and lesbian couples from their marriage laws.

    No group in our Union should be unlawfully denied a fundamental right. The decisions about marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make. Allowing LGBT people to marry is a matter of personal choice and autonomy and must be respected and recognize by al member states. Our European Union was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities of changing times. Its time to recall the right of same sex couples and their protection by our Union.

    Lady Emma Granger , 2th Baroness of Montague

    His Majesty Councillor to the European Union

    Statement read in the European Council.

  • Admin

    Perhaps Cllr Willow could have used her precious time better by actually listening to what I was saying. This law is, in its current form, all about ensuring that marriages and civil unions formed in one country are recognised across the EU. That's a legitimate cross-border issue and it's perfectly reasonable for the EU to legislate on it.

    Whether same-sex marriages conducted in, for example, Omnibus should be recognised specifically as marriages in Angleter or Pravoslaviya or the Holy See, or whether those countries would be able to recognise them as civil unions, is unclear in the current legislation. Currently, for the record, Angleter does the latter. I would favour replacing the law with something that clarifies this, one way or the other.

    What Angleter stands against is Cllr Granger's amendment, which seeks to force member states to legalise same-sex marriages within their own countries. Obviously, nobody in Angleter is banned from loving each other or condemned to live in loneliness. Perhaps some Councillors would do well to be more careful with their words.

    As for Cllr Granger's argument that the Constitution mandates same-sex marriage, if that were true, she wouldn't need an amendment. There is no ruling endorsing that interpretation of the Constitution, and Angleter takes its Constitutional commitments very seriously. We follow the Constitution and we pay our contributions, and Cllr Granger should think carefully the next time she wants to accuse us of being treaty-breakers.

    The EU exists to ease relations between member states, not to replace them. Decisions like whether to introduce same-sex marriage should be taken closer to the people, not here in Europolis.

    As such, if it weren't already obvious, on behalf of the Apostolic Kingdom of Angleter, I vote AGAINST Cllr Granger's amendment.

  • Admin

    Councillor Gibbon, you have somehow managed to squeeze in the the terms "EU-imposed legal cannabis", "EU-imposed nuclear disarmament" and "EU-imposed abolition of the death penalty" in your maiden speech. If I had any doubt that you would not live up to your past Angleteric colleagues, it would of all been evaporated in that one single breath. Keep it up Councillor, you're doing great.

    It will come as no surprise that I advocate for the equal integrity of all individuals, and as such, I share the sentiment that gay rights are human rights, and that any law that prohibits equal marriage is inherently discriminatory. With that said, that's not what this legislation was designed to address, nor was that the intent of this debate. Councillor Gibbon is correct in summing this legislation up as a cross-border issue. The legislation at hand possess considerable ambiguities that have long required readdress. For the sake of stability, I would rather see it rewritten than repealed. Despite the ambiguities of the legislation, I would find repealing it altogether more troubling, as it would put many marriages - whether they be between men and women, men and men, women and women, and others - at risk. I am confident we can put a good rewrite together. 

    I do appreciate this discussion on equal marriage, and while I don't believe this is the current place to be discussing it, I believe it should be discussed at least somewhere. I would welcome a constitutional amendment that would equalize marriage across the European Union, but I don't want to derail this discussion any further, and I encourage my colleagues to debate the merit and spirit of the current bill at hand.

    With that all done and said, on behalf of the Microstate of Inquista, I vote AGAINST Councillor Granger's amendment.

    Edward Firoux

    Deputy Speaker and Councillor of Inquista

  • For reasons that we have said before and because this must be done for the good of The European Union we must pass this legislation.

    Omnibus votes FOR this legislation

    Sanar Willow

  • Admin

    I have kept my personal opinion away from this, but looking at the legislation, I can see there is some changes needed beyond simply adding amendments to it, and since we have defeated the only proposed amendments, it has become a debate on whether we keep the law as it is or scrap it and try again.

    This needs rewritten and it needs to be rewritten quickly. The problems do lie with the national institutions and their definitions of marriage and civil partnership and whether it is Europe's place to make other nations reflect marital status across borders. In essence, unless we are willing to legislate for civil unions and marriages to have the same definitions across Europe, which I am not in favour of, it cannot stand.

    On behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, I vote AGAINTST this legislation.

    Sir Edward Mountain

    Councillor for the United Kingdom of Great Britain

    Speaker of the European Council

  • Admin

    With 0 votes FOR and 2 votes AGAINTST, Councillor Granger's amendments have been defeated. I thank Councillor Granger for her proposed amendments and encourage her to remain active in the European Council.

    With 1 vote FOR and 1 vote AGAINST, the Marriage Recognition Act is tied. Considering that there are only two votes, including my own, I will extend the voting period by 48 hours. Voting on affirming the Marriage Recognition Act will end at 15:30 GMT on February 21.

    Sir Edward Mountain

    Councillor for the United Kingdom of Great Britain

    Speaker of the European Council

  • Admin

    I agree with Cllr Mountain's position. This legislation must be replaced, but in its current form it is basically unsalvageable.

    On behalf of the Apostolic Kingdom of Angleter, I vote AGAINST this legislation.

  • Admin

    With two votes AGAINST and one vote for, the Marriage Recognition Act is defeated. Thank you all who have participated in voting, the act has been rejected and may be proposed again with amendments to the European Council.

    Sir Edward Mountain

    Councillor for the United Kingdom of Great Britain

    Speaker of the European Council

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