Entering into a same-sex marriage

In some Member States, same-sex couples can enter into marriage. In these cases, children need the consent of a public authority and/or their parents, with the exception of Scotland.

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Key aspects

  • In thirteen Member States, marriage is not open to same-sex couples (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia).
  • In six of these Member States (Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia), same-sex couples cannot enter civil partnerships. In the other seven countries, LGBTI persons may enter civil partnerships, provided they are over 18 years old.
  • Where same-sex couples are allowed to marry, the same requirements apply as for heterosexual couples.
  • In five Member States, the age threshold for same-sex marriage is set at 16 years, with consent of the children’s parents or of a public authority (Austria, Spain, Malta, Portugal, and the United Kingdom). However, in Scotland, no parental consent is required for children aged 16, whereas in Northern Ireland only civil partnerships are open to same-sex couples.
  • Four Member States require children to be over 18 (Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden).
  • In six Member States, the lowest age is not explicitly set and depends on the maturity of the child (Belgium, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Slovenia). The same applies to the marriages of heterosexual couples. However, in Greece, where the maturity of the child is the criteria for heterosexual couples, marriage is not open to same-sex couples.
  • Fifteen Member States apply the same rules on marriage for both same-sex and heterosexual couples (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, except for Northern Ireland).

Legal background

See details on page 'Entering a same-sex civil partnership'.