STRASBOURG, FRANCE, July 25, 2014 (CWN) -- The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that member nations are not required to “grant access to marriage to same-sex couples,” in a complicated case involving a transgendered individual.
Heli Hamalainen, a Finnish man who married in 1996 and fathered a child in 2002, underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 2009. When he applied (successfully) to change his name, he was told that he could not change his gender to “female” on civil records as long as he remained married to a woman, because Finland does not recognize same-sex marriage. Hamalainen brought the case before the European court, claiming a human-rights violation.
The court ruled that although European human-rights law recognizes the right of marry, there is nothing in existing legal standards that requires acceptance of same-sex marriages. The court found that civil-union legislation addresses the immediate needs of same-sex couples for legal protection.