The issues surrounding family units do not simply commence and stop at the concept of marriage. The family unit is all-encompassing. The family status is not solely reliant upon the legal basis of the marriage and union, but more so on the pragmatism of daily family routines. Each person has the right to be viewed equally and justly.
The Importance of Considering the Family Unit in LGBT Communities
The struggle to achieve equality for LGBT communities in Europe is a long-running one and of deep significance. Families of same-gender couples and LGBT families confront a lot of social, political, and economic discrimination.
At the present time, only a small number of European countries offer equitable and complete legal advantages to LGBT families on par with heterosexual families and couples. The majority of European countries offer only minimal recognition and legal care. Same gender families can encounter legal troubles at any time. Children of LGBT families are the most disadvantaged because of the stigma attached to their family status. In some serious circumstances where one family member dies or if separation/divorce occurs, children of LGBT families can be taken away by the state. Furthermore, the state can readily deny any social service benefits such as health care plans.
The Present Situation Concerning LGBT Communities
It is a confusing situation for LGBT Communities and their families. On the positive side there are several countries that are more liberal in their approach in dealing with LGTB families since the 1990s. On the negative side, some European countries have reacted severely to LGBT families while denying them their full rights along the way.
Some instances include:
- Reducing the legal advantages afforded to the definitions of family with regards to same-gender couples. Hungary and Croatia instituted this in 2012 and 2013.
- Legal prohibitions that ban same-sex marriage and families.
- Russia considering measures that effectively remove children of LGBT families.
The Actions of European Institutions
European measures in recent years have improved the conditions of LGBT families and their communities. Attempts are being made to offer equal and full recognition of rights as well as benefits to these families. Many of Europe’s legal institutions have made good progress in offering LGBT families with freedoms, services, and equity on an equal footing with heterosexual families. Legal memorandums are providing LGBT communities with full freedom of movement to anywhere within the EU.
At the present time, the memorandum outlines equal rights to LGBT families regardless of where these individuals choose to transfer to within the European Union. However, the EU’s concept of “family unit” still considers marriage and cohabitation that possess laws governing these protocols. These steps need to be improved.