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Constitutional principle of equality and legal regulation of gay marriages

Sanja Barić ; Pravni fakultet Sveučilišta u Rijeci
Sanja Vincan

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 406 Kb

str. 81-113

preuzimanja: 2.807



Modern democratic legal organisation holds the rights of the individual or person as its fundamental value. However, the significance, main idea and aim of such organisation is the creation of an adequate social environment for the complete and free development of each individual. Unhindered development of someone’s person undoubtedly includes one of the most intimate areas of life which includes love and sexuality or someone’s sexual orientation.
Sexual minorities very often are faced with the “tolerant” attitude of the sexual majority which can be described as the social “imperative of invisibility”. In other words, not only can the person of a different sexual orientation not be easily recognised ( by certain stenotypes) and therefore he or she is factually invisible, but also those belonging to the majority often believe that homosexuals should be completely satisfied merely with the freedom “ to do whatever they like within their own four walls”. Consequently, remaining invisible becomes the basic form of protection offered by the majority.
However, sexual orientation is ceasing to be considered exclusively as achieving sexual preference given that is a characteristic which includes interpersonal relations as an expression of basic personal human needs. In this sense, it is senseless to discuss the theory that it is about personal choice. Up till now, it was for the most part accepted that the right to personal development, just as the right to form and develop certain interpersonal relations, belongs to the area of protecting and respecting one’s private life. So too did the European Court of Human Rights by defining one’s “private life” in article 8 of the European Convention confirm that in various cases this right does not only include personal development, but also what is more important, the development of relations with other people and with the outside world as a whole.
This paper provides the theoretical framework of comprehending the principle of equality and then goes on to a brief overview of paradigma questioning and approaches developed by the American Supreme Court. Then, an overview of more recent court practice follows both at a federal and state level, including an analysis of one of the most liberal decisions related to same sex couples brought by the South African Constitutional Court. The principle of equality and non-discrimination is then analysed in relevant European Court of Human Rights judgements taking into consideration the stance of European Union law.
Finally, this paper looks at the legal framework for combating discrimination and regulating same sex relationships in the Republic of Croatia. Research shows continual reinterpretation of the principle of equality in the context of legal regulation of same sex couples and points out the challenges soon to be faced by our national legal organisation in this area.

Ključne riječi

principle of equality, non-discrimination, sexual orientation, same sex couples

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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