Coman and others case – The Opportunity to Find the Reality of Marriage Itself
The Bishops Conference of Romania notes the upcoming of the Luxembourg Court of Justice of the European Union’s decision in the Coman and others against General Inspectorate for Immigration and others case and reaffirms firmly with this occasion the truth about marriage and the meaning of the term „spouses” according to the dignity of the human person and to the plan of God.
On the 5th of June 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union is expected to deliver its judgment in the Coman and otherscase. The applicants, a couple formed by two men of Romanian and United States citizenship respectively, married in Belgium in 2010, requested the Luxembourg Court, through the Constitutional Court of Romania, to clarify whether the term of „spouse” of the Directive 2004/38 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States refers also to the same-sex spouse, and whether Romania is obliged to grant the latest a right to reside for a period of more than three months on the ground of family reunification. The General Inspectorate for Immigration had previously refused their request in this regard.
On the 11th of January 2018, the Advocate General Melchior WATHELET delivered his opinion in this case. He practically proposed to the Luxembourg Court to redefine the term of „spouse” in the field of freedom of movement and residence of the European Union’s citizens and of their family members as to include the same-sex spouse. In other words, he suggests to redefine marriage at the European Union level (the decision of the Luxembourg Court will be compulsory for all Member States), as, if the term of „spouse” is redefined, „marriage” is also redefined, the sexual difference of the spouses being of the essence of marriage, and this, even if in the instant case this redefinition operates (for the moment) only in the field of immigration. Other claims of this nature will follow as the other characteristics of marriage will be challenged. Thus, the Member States that do not allow the same-sex marriage in their legal order will be forced to redefine „marriage” in the immigration field and to accept the effects of a same-sex marriage concluded abroad, and that, even if, as the Advocate General says, the marriage between a man and a woman is consecrated in their Constitution.
In the Romanian Civil Code, according to the tradition of the Romanian nation, marriage is the stable and exclusive union between a man and a woman which is the basis of family. From this follows that any other union could neither be equated to this bond nor defined by the term of „marriage”. Therefore, the decision of the General Inspectorate for Immigration is legitimate, logical and in profound agreement with the soul and spirit of the Romanian people. Moreover, this decision does not necessarily concern the right of residence of the United States citizen on the Romanian territory, but rather the respect for the dignity of marriage and for its nature.
The Bishops Conference of Romania considers that the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union should not proceed to social engineering redefining the term of „spouse”, and implicitly that of „marriage”. We call upon the Court to continue to protect marriage and to respect and reaffirm what it really is, as it was defined in the Judeo-Christian culture.
In the end, the role of law, and implicitly of justice, is to protect family through marriage, saying and upholding what marriage is. Therefore, the definition of marriage, and implicitly of spouses, is not something arbitrarily. It is based on the human nature and on the human person’s needs. Every child comes in the world by the union of a man and a woman. The first need of a child, in order to fully develop f, is education. As the education of a child is a long, vast and complex work, it needs the stable union of his parents- his mother and his father. This stable union of the parents for the education of their children is called family. As the stability of family is fundamental, it is guaranteed through a legal, public and solemn engagement of the spouses, even from the beginning of their union. This keeps them responsible in the future. This engagement is called marriage. Therefore, marriage is defined as the exclusive and long-life union between a man and a woman in order to found a family and to accompany their children to their human integral development. Thus, the sexual difference of spouses, the lifelong union, the openness to a new life and the parents’ duty to educate their children are of the essence of marriage
„The return to reality itself is mandatory, said Husserl. In this call it is recognized a first historical responsibility of the beginning of the Third Millennium. Without infringing in any way the freedom of thought, the return to the reality itself does not mean the defense of our own ideas, giving them a special place in a multitude of ideas. It means to restore the primacy of the reality over the idea, of the real over the virtual, of the being over the existence, of the common experience -as it imposes itself in the life of every human being- over ideology. The return to the thing as it is means the return to how it came from the hand of the Creator at the beginning. „This is about understanding the reason and the consequences of the decision of the Creator for the human being to always exist as a man and a woman”.
We conclude on the reflection of Thomas Morus’s character in Robert Bolt’s play „A Man for All Seasons” to recall that humans cannot alter God’s laws and nature’s laws:„Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat (…) But if it is flat, will the King’s command make it round? And if it is round, will the King’s command flatten it? No.”
Fr. Francisc UNGUREANU
The Bishops Conference of Romania reunites all the Roman and Greek Catholic Bishops of Romania and expresses the unity of the local Church and the communion with the successor of Peter, the Holy Father. The Bishops of Romania meet twice a year in ordinary sessions, in spring and autumn.