Love is a Human Right
The right of adults to enter into consensual marriage is enshrined in international human rights standards.
Article 16, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):
Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
For more than a decade, this non-discrimination principle has been interpreted by UN treaty bodies and numerous inter-governmental human rights bodies as prohibiting discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. Non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation has therefore become an internationally recognized principle and many countries have responded by bringing their domestic laws into line with this principle in a range of spheres including partnership rights.
Civil marriage between individuals of the same-sex is an issue in which fundamental human rights are at stake. Amnesty International believes that the denial of equal civil recognition of same-sex relationships prevents many people from accessing a range of other rights, such as rights to housing and social security, and stigmatizes those relationships in ways that can fuel discrimination and other human rights abuses against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The failure of a state to recognize these relationships has grave consequences for same sex couples and their children, these include:
- Prohibiting a partner from making decisions on a partner’s behalf when she or he is sick;
- Prohibiting a partner from visiting a partner’s child in hospital;
- Preventing couples from sharing equal rights and equal responsibility for children in their care;
- Preventing a partner and children from receiving employment-based benefits and being covered by health insurance;
- Preventing inheritance from a deceased partner going to a surviving partner if he or she dies without a valid will.