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Bulgaria recognises a same-sex marriage

RIGHTS

In a landmark case, a court in Bulgaria has recognised same-sex marriage for the first time. Australian-born Cristina Palma and Frenchwoman Mariama Dialo are married, and because Dialo is an EU citizen, Palma had been able to reside and work in Bulgaria alongside her wife. However, when the time came for Palma to reapply for her residency visa, her request was denied on the grounds that same-sex marriage is illegal in Bulgaria. After a two-year battle, the Sofia City Administrative Court finally ruled in Palma’s favour by legally recognising her as a spouse of an EU citizen. “I am happy to celebrate not only my right to live in Bulgaria, but also the right for any same-sex couples to exercise their right to mobility in the EU,” Palma said shortly after the ruling was announced.


The ruling is in accordance with European Court of Justice legislation that stipulates all EU nations must recognise same-sex marriages from other member states — even if same-sex marriage remains illegal in that country. Bulgarian gay activists welcomed the result: “This is good news for the LGBTI movement fighting for legal recognition in Bulgaria,” said Veneta Limberova of gay youth organisation Deystvie. “This decision is of paramount importance for us as a community because it gives hope to all same-sex couples, regardless of their citizenship, that their families will be recognised in Bulgaria.” Bulgaria is one of 21 European countries where same-sex marriage remains illegal. Speaking to Gay Star News, the couple’s lawyer, Denitsa Lyubenova, said: “Bulgaria has a long way to go still until full marriage equality, but we are on the right path.”


ABOVE Supportive group at the court case

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