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NELFA NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2019
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NELFA
Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations
 
NEWSLETTER No. 11 - JANUARY 2019
Find below NELFA's current newsletter number eleven! You will find information about recent activities of our European Network and important news about LGBTIQ* parents, their children, allies and supporters. Enjoy reading!
INTRODUCTION
BRUSSELS, 28 January 2019: Happy New Year - late, but wholeheartedly! And yes, we can celebrate: for example marriage equality in Austria! However, only a couple of days after the official start, there are already gloomy news: obviously, the Ministry of the Interior gave a sort of advice to the registries not to allow such contracts, if one of the partners comes from a country without marriage equality. That's weird, but not an isolated case. Rainbow families in Europe still have a difficult stand: Bulgaria's administration appealed against the recognition of a lesbian couple's marriage, in spite of a clear ECJ judgment. Croatia's Parliament just decided on a foster care law which excludes same-sex couples, a clear case of discrimination. And all these accompanying bad news within the last weeks: the deadly attack against the mayor of Gdansk (a supporter of LGBTIQ* rights) and the new wave of persecutions in Chechnya... We need to continue our work, let's go!
NELFA HIGHLIGHTS

Save the dates! NELFA and its allies plan some very interesting events this year. In March, we will start with our Annual General Meeting [AGM] in Helsinki (8-10 March). Our Finnish member Sateenkaariperheet organises in particular a seminar on children's rights on Friday afternoon. NELFA's AGM will take place on Saturday afternoon, with activists from all over Europe. The next bigger event is our Rainbow Families Conference in Zagreb (10-12 May), co-organised by our Croatian member Dugine obitelji. Some NELFA Board members already decided to bring their kids to Zagreb. Perhaps, you are interested to join us? Write to secretary@nelfa.org. Other European Rainbow Families Meetings will take place in Barcelona (28-29 June, organised by FLG) and on Aeroe Island (26 July - 2 August). More info soon! (graphics: NELFA [1,2,3] and Rainbow Family Festival)

NELFA has started a new and closer relationship with the EU Commission in Brussels. On 17th of January, President Dominique Boren (apgl) and Secretary Björn Sieverding (LSVD) met up with Monika Ladmanová, adviser of Commissioner Věra Jourová (Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality). They discussed how to ensure a long-term cooperation, especially with regard to the upcoming EU elections in May 2019. NELFA will have the possibility to meet DG Justice employees in the near future (probably in February), to talk about current obstacles for rainbow families who exercise free movement rights within the EU. NELFA handed over an updated version of case studies. Read more here. (photos: Björn Sieverding)

NELFA just published its first scientific research! It is a legal analysis of the 'Coman case' before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which had ended with a landmark ruling in early June 2018: The term "spouse" in the EU Directive 20014/38 (freedom of movement) includes married same-sex couples. The author is Professor Alina Tryfonidou who just joined NELFA as supporting individual member. In the report, she deals with the positive outcome of the judgment for rainbow families but also points out some important limitations. See the whole document here and the corresponding press release. (photo: Alina Tryfonidou)

NELFA welcomes two new supporting members! The first one is the Estonian LGBT Association, Eesti LGBT Ühing. The organisation has been consulting and bringing together rainbow families for years and would like to do that more effectively in the future. The second new NELFA member is Asociatia Accept in Romania. It is a non-governmental organisation that advocates LGBTIQ* rights since 1996. In recent times, Accept accompanied the court case of Adrian Coman and Clai Hamilton (see above) and campaigned successfully against the referendum concerning the term "family" in the Romanian constitution. (photos: Eesti LGBT Ühing [1], Accept [2])

NELFA attended the biggest event of LGBTIQ* activists in the region, ILGA-Europe's Annual Conference 2018. It was organised in Brussels from 24th to 27th of October. Board members Eleni Maravelia (FLG), Dominique Boren (apgl), Daniel Martinovic (Dugine obitelji) and Björn Sieverding (LSVD, Homoparentalités) discussed rainbow family issues and possible cooperations in the future, they contributed to a panel discussion with MEPs concerning the EU elections in May 2019 and presented a children's book sign in, together with former Board member Luís Amorim (ILGA Portugal). NELFA took also part in a workshop on the 'Coman case' [strategic litigation]. Read the NELFA presentation. (photos: Björn Sieverding)

NELFA ACTIVITIES

COPENHAGEN, BARCELONA, November 2018 - January 2019: NELFA's current Erasmus+ project "Joining forces for the well-being of rainbow families" is in full swing. During the last months, our active volunteers from Poland (Fundacja Teczowe Rodziny), Russia (LGBT Network), Albania (OMSA) and Serbia (ERA) attended different courses in Denmark and Spain. NELFA's aim is to strengthen the Network especially towards its educational activities. Our partner organisation In Dialogue offers a wide range of different training events, like "Conflict management", "Clear Leadership" or "Inspiring facilitation, teaching and training". The project will end in June 2019. You find more information about our capacity building here. (photos: Joanna Smiecinska [1], Regina Dzugkoeva [2], Arber Kodra [3], Isidora Isakov [4])

SOFIA, 08 November 2018: NELFA Board member Veneta Limberova and her team (Deystvie) hosted an international conference, entitled "Love moves towards equality". The aim was to raise awareness of the difficulties same-sex couples face in Bulgaria and elsewhere. NELFA contributed with a new general presentation of the Network. At the same time, Deystvie launched a campaign with the All Out Fund. The petition asks the EU institutions to protect the rights of rainbow families. See above a picture of Deystvie members and the lesbian couple concerned at a Human Rights Award ceremony in December 2018. Bulgarian authorities still deny the recognition of their marriage, contracted in France. (photo: Cristina Palma)

BRUSSELS, 19 November 2018: NELFA had the possibility to speak about rainbow families in problematic cross-border situations - before the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs. The aim was to urge the institutions to ensure mutual recognition of civil documents like marriage or birth certificates. Find here the video of the hearing and a longer version of the presentation. (photo: Björn Sieverding)
 
 PARIS, 22 November 2018: NELFA-President Dominique Boren (Co-chair of our French member apgl) met up with President Emmanuel Macron in Elysee Palace! The aim was to discuss (with 30 NGO’s) an action plan against LGBTIQ*phobia and the approval of medically assisted procreation for lesbian couples and single women in France. Macron confirmed a bill will be introduced next year, but without a clear road map. (photo: Dominique Boren, with apgl Co-chair Marie-Claude Picardat)

GENOVA, 01 December 2018: NELFA Board members Giovanni Fantoni and Esteban Jiménez (Famiglie Arcobaleno) took part in a protest march, the "All Families Pride". It was organised by Coordinamento Liguria Rainbow to defend the rights of LGBTIQ* parents and the children. The municipality of Genova doesn't accept court rulings concerning the co-parent recognition of several rainbow families. The mayor opposes the corresponding registration. On 27 November, there was already a protest action in the town hall. See more here. (photo: Marco Balostro)

ZAGREB, 06-09 December 2018: NELFA’s full member Dugine obitelji has started another initiative to achieve more equality for rainbow families in Croatia. Board member Daniel Martinovic invited NELFA President Dominique Boren, Secretary Björn Sieverding and Juliette Sanchez-Lambert (Secretary of the EP's Intergroup on LGBTI Rights) to an activist's weekend. The programme included a Parliamentary hearing on a new foster care law (which, unfortunately, passed with an exclusion of registered same-sex couples) and a panel debate concerning the "Road to Marriage Equality". The participants shared their experiences in France, Germany and Belgium and gave a couple of interviews with Croatian TV stations. See reports with RTL here and here. And another report of N1 here. (photos: Björn Sieverding)

MADRID, 11 December 2018: NELFA Board member Jesús Santos Homobono (Galehi), his husband David and their son Gabriel were interviewed and filmed by Radio Gaga. It’s one of these clear and impressive proofs that children in rainbow families are fine and live a “normal” life. See more here. (photo: Jesús Santos)
NELFA NEWS

VIENNA, 12 October 2018 - 01 January 2019: NELFA is very pleased with marriage equality in Austria. After a long period of twisting and turning, the right-wing government accepted a court decision from December 2017. The first lesbian couple (and their son) already celebrated their wedding in mid-October 2018. Officially, marriage equality came into effect at the beginning of the new year. Read more here. Furthermore, the Constitutional Court in Vienna ruled in favour of rainbow families concerning adoption rights. They must be treated equally to different-sex couples, even after their separation. Read the judgment here. (photo: Britta Pedersen, dpa)

SARAJEVO, 19 October 2018: NELFA welcomes the recent developments in the Balkans. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) entity government adopted the request for the legalisation of same-sex marriages. A working group will analyse the regulations which would allow couples concerned to realise their rights and propose regulations which need to be adopted. LGBTIQ* activists welcomed this move. Read more here. In neighbouring Montenegro, there are currently similar discussions to introduce at least civil partnerships. (photo: Boris Kovacev)

AMSTERDAM, 13 November 2018: At least two IVF clinics in the Netherlands are to start offering surrogacy services to gay couples (source: De Monitor). One in Leiderdorp will help fertilising a surrogate mother’s own eggs while a second, in Elsendorp, will allow couples to provide an egg from a sister or other family member for a better genetic match. For NELFA’s Dutch member Meer Dan Gewenst this is a “major step forward”. In neighbouring Luxembourg, the Administrative Court backed the rights of children born through surrogacy abroad. A former governmental decision was rejected in early 2019. Read more here. (photo: Despositphotos.com)

PRAGUE, 14 November 2018: NELFA keeps its fingers crossed! The Czech Republic seems to be ready for marriage equality - as first country in Central and Eastern Europe. Backed by positive polls, the Parliament has started a debate on a corresponding law. The initiative Jsme fér publishes corresponding news on Facebook. The campaign gets prominent support, for example from the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights. See more here. (photo: Jsme fér)

SAN MARINO, 16 November 2018: The Republic has just passed a law allowing civil unions for same-sex couples. It states: "The civil union is the contract by which a family-like community is governed by two adult individuals of the same sex or different sex in order to organise their life in common". Read more here. Other countries in Europe just started a new debate on same-sex partnerships. In Romania, 43 Members of Parliament signed a new bill to legalise civil unions. In Latvia, the Office of the Ombudsman issued an important opinion concerning the recognition of same-sex families. (photo: Luis Cortes Martinez, Unsplash)

BERLIN, 19 December 2018: A trans man just filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights, So far, it's impossible for him to be recognised adequately in the birth certificate of his child. There, he remains as mother. The Constitutional Court rejected the corresponding case in June as unfounded. Read more here (photo: pixabay). Only some days before, the German Parliament decided on the implementation of a third gender "diverse". Unfortunately, psychological reports are still mandatory for people concerned (no self-determination). Read a press release of NELFA's member LSVD and another statement of OII Europe. (photo: queer.de)

DUBLIN, 11 January 2019: NELFA is delighted by the recent decision in Ireland. Same-sex female couples will be able to register both their names on a child's birth certificate to affirm their parental rights. The preparation of a new Bill had been approved by the government and will be probably presented in spring. Read more here. In Germany, the automatic co-parent recognition is not possible at the moment. Only three months ago, the Federal Court in Karlsruhe ruled against a lesbian couple. The judges didn't see any discrimination. A possible step-child adoption would be "adequate". Read more here. NELFA urges the legislator to change the parentage law as soon as possible! (photo: miapowterr/pixabay)

VILNIUS, 11 January 2019: It’s a landmark ruling in Lithuania! The Constitutional Court held a public hearing on the case determining whether Constitutional provisions regarding freedom of movement of family members apply for same-sex couples. In its judgement, the Court stressed that a refusal to issue a temporary residence permit to stay in Lithuania to a spouse or partner cannot be based solely on the foreigner’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Read more. In Poland, a gay couple recently fought unsuccessful for a recognition of their marriage which was contracted on Madeira Island. See more. (photo: Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty)

NELFA INPUT

WARSAW, 18 October 2018: Lawyer Anna Mazurczak published an interesting article about a recent judgment in Poland. The Supreme Administration Court decided in favour of a lesbian couple and a common birth certificate for their child. The son was born in London in 2014. The Polish mother and her female partner tried to register him for a Polish birth certificate, but local administrators rejected the request. (photo: AP)

BRUSSELS, 15 December 2018: Researcher Roberta Messina (ULB) has been awarded at a conference in Montréal/Canada for her recent study concerning same-sex adoptive families. NELFA's member organisations Galehi, Homoparentalités and apgl contributed to the study. Read more here (in English) or here (in French). (photo: Roberta Messina)
BRUSSELS, 10 January 2019: Rainbow families still face discrimination in cross-border situations. MEP Sophie in't Veld (ALDE) asked the Commission in November what steps citizens can take if the authorities of a Member State refuse to implement the ruling of the Coman case. See here the answer. (photo: EU Commissioner Vera Jourová, euractiv.com)
CHICAGO, 15 January 2019: A new survey, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, reveals that two third of gay dads (USA) report experiencing stigma. In states with more legal protection the situation for fathers concerned is better. The survey contains more than 700 responses in 47 states. Read more here. (graphic: American Academy of Pediatrics)
STRASBOURG, 17 January 2019: The European Parliament just adopted the latest report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU from 2017. Watch out in particular for paragraphs 11 and 36 which are related to LGBTIQ* rights. The report was drafted by Josep-Maria Terricabras and the Committee in Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. See more details here. (graphic: EU Parliament)
TUSCALOOSA, 11 January 2019: NELFA had recently contact to Jamie Campbell Naidoo, who is Professor at University of Alabama and writes about children's books concerning rainbow families all over the world. Find his current project here. Some of our members already enlarged his database. If you have any suggestions: contact secretary@nelfa.org!!
 
PICTURES OF THE MONTH
The rainbow families' movement is alive! In Italy, Famiglie Arcobaleno had a wonderful Annual Meeting in San Vincenzo, Livorno, with hundreds of LGBTIQ* parents and their children. Read more here. On 10th of November, FLG in Spain organised its Autumn Meeting. Approximately 200 rainbow families met up in the near of Barcelona (photo: Eleni Maravelia)
 
Copyright © 2019 Nelfa aisbl 845937097 - Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations. All Rights Reserved. NELFA currently represents 34 organisations in 28 European countries with more than 20,000 members. Greetings to all LGBTIQ* families, relatives, friends, activists and supporters out there!

Our mailing addresses are:
info@nelfa.org, media@nelfa.org

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