The European Commission is pushing for “automatic mutual recognition” of public documents in all EU Member States. Among them are marriage and adoption documents.

Automatic recognition, as practical as it may seem at first a glance, entails a severe danger: that of a forced recognition of civil unions, same-sex marriages and corresponding adoption rights by all Member States – even if this goes against their national laws and public order.

A public consultation (Green Paper) on the topic has been opened by the Commission. Every NGO, group or individual can participate! In this email, we provide you with all the necessary information you may need to send your opinion to the Commission. A solid analysis of the questions asked by the Commission will help you to frame your answer. All information is available in six languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish and German.

Much is at stake!We urge you to help advocate for freedom and the principle of subsidiarity!

This is how you can get involved:

Write your answer to the Commission by April 31, 2011, at the latest. Find here all information you need for this. 

•Use the six language versions of the analysis on our website and spread the word among your network.

•Contact your local politicians, provide them with our information and ask them to get involved.

Abstract

The purpose of the Green Paper, issued by the European Commission on December 14, 2010, is to achieve a cross-border harmonization of public and civil status documents in order to “reduce bureaucracy”. There is no doubt that a reasonable reduction of bureaucracy is desirable within the EU. However, the simplistic audit of the issues involved—as conducted by the Commission in its Green Paper—leads to an even greater issue: that of compelling EU Member States to recognize same-sex civil unions (or same-sex adoption) even when this goes against their national laws and public morality (and despite the fact that Member States are theoretically protected against such coercion by Article 81.3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). Since family law is a competency of each Member State—and not of the EU—the imposition of a recognition of civil unions and other practises that contradict their domestic public morality would constitute a serious infringement of national sovereignty and a violation of the principle of subsidiarity. This is precisely the danger posed by the idea of “automatic mutual recognition” of public documents, as the European Commission seems to suggest.

What is a Green Paper?

A Green Paper is a broad public consultation on the role of the EU in a certain policy field. Every citizen and organization can contribute their opinion. A Green Paper is an explicit invitation for organizations, public and private entities, and individuals to contribute to the opinion-making process of the European Commission on a specific topic. The contributions are usually taken into account by the European Commission to define further policy strategies in the field concerned.

Your contribution is needed

Each and every contribution on this public consultation is important. If you are an NGO or a civil society organization, please submit your response to the Commission’s Green Paper in the name of your organization. If you are an individual, please submit your answer in your own name, stating your full name and address. In our analysis of the Green Paper, we have provided suggestions for possible responses to the questions contained in the document.

Find here our propositions to write an answer.

Deadline for responses: 30 April 2011.

Answers need to be sent to:

European Commission Directorate-General for Justice

Unit A1 - Judicial Cooperation in Civil Matters

B-1049 Brussels

Fax No: + 32-2/299 64.57

E-mail:  JUST-CIVIL-COOP(at)ec.europa.eu