Statement: We need better support for families and for rainbow families and their children

The European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance statement on families

Families are invaluable for cohesion and solidarity in Europe. Families and children are of inestimable value to and the foundation of society: they are the future. It’s in the family where people make elemental experiences and learn the essence of cohesion: trust, security, reliability, care, appreciation, respect, solidarity and responsibility. It’s in the family where those values are lived which are constitutive for our coexistence.

For us family is everywhere where people are permanently connected or related to each other and are committed to taking responsibility for each other – even over generations. It is the basis of cohesion, the first stabilizing factor of our society.

Family is therefore more than the sum of mother, father and child. Family policy must consider the whole and promote the success of this whole during the course of life. We want to encourage a “yes to children” and make the decision easier for having children.The term “family” therefore also includes so-called rainbow families with one or more LGBTIQ* parents or plural parent families. Rainbow families are a fact and a vital part of society.

Numerous studies show that children in rainbow families grow up without any psychological or emotional peculiarities or disadvantages. However – rainbow families still encounter ample discrimination and legal limitations. Even though same-sex marriage is now permitted in 15 European countries (12 of which are EU members), only 10 of these allow automatic co-parent recognition (9 of which are EU countries). In most countries the non-biological mother or father of a child is not automatically recognised as parent and has to undergo an adoption process. In other cases, biological fathers are underprivileged and lack rights to care for and even see or visit their children.

But it is the reverse conclusion that matters most. Centre of attention should be the children. And it is obvious that children in rainbow families are not subject to the same legal and material protection and rights as children born to heterosexual parents.

This can also apply to children carried out by a mother who is not their biological mother – the so-called Surrogacy Motherhood (“Surrogacy”). Even though as part of the EPP family we do not approve of Surrogacy in general we strongly appeal to all member parties to show their concern for children born this way and start talking about this subject to bring the legal process into a proper course before politics will be overtaken by reality. Some states already permit this kind of reproduction in the altruistic form which decidedly rules out any money flow but allows Surrogacy in form of a personal favour. We urgently need a clear and defined legal frame in the EU to avoid legal disparity for children born by a surrogate mother. Notwithstanding the current legal situation of Surrogacy in the EU it should be not a matter of discussion that these children must nevertheless possess the same rights and benefits to which all children should be entitled.

Children are our future. Each child is subject to the same inviolability of human dignity and deserves the same chances and the same protection by law. Therefore we demand an open discussion about how to improve the situation of rainbow children in European society, how to secure he rights of the parents involved – biological, non-biological and social- but even more important how to strengthen the rights of the children to grow up in security and stability and a future with real prospects. This is ultimately also a contribution to intergenerational justice and thus in the best sense a contribution to the goals of sustainable (social) development.

And we also call for the right and freedom of movement for rainbow families and acknowledgement as families according to the law in their home countries incl. receiving family benefits in their EU country of residency. Many LGBTIQ* parents – especially with children – are in legal limbo when crossing a border, familial ties cease to exist. The people concerned end up in bureaucratic nightmares, in court procedures or just give up and live with those inequalities.

For the first time, a President of the EU Commission took a clear stance on rainbow families and their legal recognition in all member states with Ursula von der Leyen in her recent speech (Sept. 2020) in Strasbourg: “The Commission will soon put forward a strategy to strengthen LGBTQI rights. As part of this, I will also push for mutual recognition of family relations in the EU. If you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in every country.”

This fills us with hope and expectations. We will follow developments closely.