by Sabine Hannakampf
Andorra takes the final step towards same-sex marriage by simply removing the distinction between heterosexual and homosexual marriages.
Same sex civil unions have been legal in this small country in the Pyrenees since 2014. Legally, this Unió Civil was already equal to marriage. Local LGBTIQ* groups have nevertheless condemned the law as discriminatory and still full of legal shortcomings, which is why Andorra’s three-party governing coalition has presented a joint bill to legalise same-sex marriage.
The draft law, which is expected to be adopted in May and to come into force in the summer, provides:
“From the entry into force of this law, the Andorran legal system will recognize two forms of marriage: civil marriage, which includes both homosexual and heterosexual couples, and canonical marriage”.
While “canonical marriage”, meaning “marriage under canon law”, will continue to exist unchanged, the differences between same-sex civil unions and heterosexual “casaments” will be legally abolished. Weddings will be called only “weddings” for everyone.
Ester Molné Soldevila, former Secretary of State for Justice and Home Affairs and now General Advisor to the Andorran Parliament, said the change in legislation would bring “significant improvements”.
“The term civil union was confusing, especially when it was necessary to register in foreign civil registers because they were not always recognised and the couple concerned could therefore not be registered.”
Facilitation of divorce proceedings is also provided for in the draft. With the introduction of the law, the need to state a specific reason for initiating a separation or divorce process will be eliminated. The requirement to have lived separately for three years before the divorce can be filed will also be removed.
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