Nongovernmental organizations hope the European Court of Justice's Tuesday ruling will pave the way for homosexuals from third countries, married to EU citizens, to get residency in Lithuania.
© DELFI / Orestas Gurevičius

The ECJ ruled on Tuesday that gay couples have the right to residency in any EU member state even if it does not recognize gay marriages.

The ruling followed the assessment of EU legal provisions regarding foreigners' residency in EU member states. The Court ruled that "the term 'spouse' within the meaning of the provisions of EU law on freedom of residence for EU citizens and their family members includes spouses of the same sex".

"As far as we know, Lithuania's Migration Department has so far rejected applications for the reunion of same-sex spouses, based on the fact that Lithuanian laws do not allow same-sex marriages," Kristina Normantaitė, project manager at the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, told BNS Lithuania.

"Following the European Court of Justice's ruling in the Coman case, such a practice should change. (…) The term "spouse" in the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens will have to be interpreted as also including same-sex spouses," she added.

The Ministry of the Interior, controlling activity of the Migration Department, says it wants to get acquainted with the ECJ ruling before making any political decisions.

"First of all, we need to get acquainted with the ruling and then take some action," Karolis Vaitkevičius, spokesman for the interior minister, told BNS Lithuania.

The ECJ ruled that Romanian and American male citizens who got married in Brussels in 2010 and decided to move to Romania two years later have the same residency rights as other married couples.

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