Homosexuals to bring a case against Poland in Strasbourg
The Strasbourg Court is to examine the applications of four other couples. “It’s unacceptable that in 2017 the Polish state does not protect fundamental rights of its citizens. A judgment by the ECtHR should be a clear signal for Polish lawmakers reminding them that it is the state’s obligation to provide legal protection for same-sex relationships”, says Mikołaj Pietrzak, a partner at Pietrzak, Sidor & Wspólnicy. Another firm’s lawyer, Małgorzata Mączka-Pacholak adds: “We’d like to obtain a ruling similar to that given in Oliari and Others v. Italy in 2015”. In Oliari, the Court held that the absence of a possibility to officially recognise unions of same-sex couples violates the right to respect for private and family life guaranteed in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
ECtHR application: what were the Coalition’s arguments?
Before submitting the applications to the Strasbourg Court, all couples needed to follow the legal path available under national law, taking their cases from register offices through district courts to regional courts. For all four couples, regional courts upheld decisions of district courts, which ruled that heads of register offices had lawfully refused to accept documents that confirmed the couples’ capacity to marry.
The conclusion of judicial proceedings in Poland created the possibility of complaining to the European Court of Human Rights. “We argue in the applications submitted to the European Court of Human Rights that the absence of the possibility to enter a civil union by persons of the same sex violates the right to respect for private and family life and constitutes an example of discrimination based on sexual orientation. We point to the fact that the applicable laws collide with the Polish social realities”, Ms Mączka-Pacholak explains. The Coalition also complained to the Constitutional Court. Commenting on this part of the Coalition’s legal strategy, Ms Mączka-Pacholak said: “We brought constitutional complaints to the Constitutional Court because it is in best the interest of all of our clients to exhaust any available domestic remedies”.