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Human Rights: Same-sex Relationships

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the answer by Lord Bach on 23 October 2008 (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 1127), whether they have amended or withdrawn their intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Horst Schalk and Johann Kopf v Austria (Application No 30141/04); and, if so, what are the terms on which they have done so. [HL1144]

The Government have carried out a review of their policy on the application to same-sex relationships of the concept of “family life” in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In light of that review, the Government wrote to the European Court of Human Rights on 15 January this year to indicate that, while it is ultimately a matter for the court to decide, we would not argue against the possible future development of the court's case law in this area. However, in our view any such future development should have prospective effect only. A copy of that letter has been sent to the noble Lord, and I have now placed a copy in both Libraries.