A Bulgarian court has ordered city hall authorities in the capital Sofia to issue a birth certificate to the baby born to a gay couple from Bulgaria and Gibraltar respectively.
The court’s decision was finally handed down on Monday May 16, ending a long legal battle that began after a little girl was left essentially stateless.
Little Sara, born in 2019 in Spain, could not obtain Spanish nationality because none of her mothers are Spanish.
Her Gibraltarian mother was unable to pass on her British nationality, but was denied this as she was born in Gibraltar and not the UK, meaning she cannot transfer her nationality to a child.
Since Bulgaria does not recognize same-sex marriages performed abroad and prohibits same-sex marriage on Bulgarian territory, Baby Sara was not allowed to obtain citizenship.
As a result, Sara was left without any documents of any kind, which posed a significant risk to her ability to access health care, education and social security. It also prevented the family from leaving Spain.
They took the case to the Sofia Administrative Court, which eventually consulted the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which in turn ruled that Bulgaria’s refusal to issue identity documents to Sara was infringing on her rights.
“The Member State of which the child is a national is required to issue an identity card or a passport to that child without requiring that a birth certificate be drawn up in advance by its national authorities”, declared the CJEU on 14 December 2021.
Revenues stopped when, in order for an identity card or passport to be issued, the baby needed a Bulgarian birth certificate, which cannot include same-sex parents and only the biological mother.
“The Municipality of Sofia must issue a Bulgarian birth certificate showing the holder’s name, date and place of birth, gender and origin of both parents of Baby Sara,” the LGBTQ+ rights organization said. Deystvie in a statement.
“Bulgaria cannot refuse to recognize Baby Sarah’s descent from both parents on the grounds that national law does not provide for the institution of same-sex marriage,” the court ruling said.
The couple’s legal representative, Denitsa Lyubenova, hailed the decision as a “landmark [step] for the LGBTQ+ community”.
“Today LGBTQ+ people can rejoice,” she said. “After years of tireless work, we have won a milestone in the fight for equality, after years of perseverance, we have proven that we were right and that European law treats citizens equally.”
The couple were “extremely happy” with the decision and that their baby could finally leave Spain.