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Same-Sex Relationships in Europe: Trends Towards Tolerance?


Ian Curry-Sumner

Private International Law, Comparative Law and Family Law, Universiteit Utrecht, NL
About Ian
Senior University Lecturer
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In 1990, who would have thought that there would come a time when a generation of law students starting university would not even question if same-sex couples should be entitled to marry? And yet, that time has arrived. The majority of students embarking upon a legal education at a Dutch university in September 2011 were 8 years old when Job Cohen, the Mayor of Amsterdam, celebrated the first-ever State endorsed same-sex marriage in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For these students, the existence of same-sex marriage is as much a given, as the need to criminalize murderers or the need for a National Parliament. Yet, the road to this point in time has not been one without its trials and tribulations

In this article, an attempt will be made to briefly outline the current state of the law with regards the legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Europe. In doing so, attention will be paid to the formalized forms of relationship recognition currently available across the European continent, namely same-sex marriage and forms of registered partnership. Attention will then shift to an analysis of the developments within European Union legislation and trends at the European Court of Human Rights, before drawing some general conclusions with regards the future.

How to Cite: Curry-Sumner, I., 2011. Same-Sex Relationships in Europe: Trends Towards Tolerance?. Amsterdam Law Forum, 3(2), pp.43–61. DOI:
Published on 01 Apr 2011.
Peer Reviewed


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