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D. v. Council of the European Union , Case T-264/97, [1999] E.C.R.

Facts: the applicant was Swedish and a Community staff member. He had been refused household allowance for his same-sex partner. Even if his partnership was registered under Swedish law, he had thus been denied benefits equivalent to his married colleagues.

Complaint: the applicant claimed that the refusal violated Article 14 of the European Convention because it was discrimination on the base of sexual orientation.

Holding: The European Union Court of First Instance rejected the plaintiff's application on all grounds, relying on Grant v. South-West Trains Ltd . An appeal to the European Court of Justice was dismissed with costs awarded against D., thereby maintaining the lower court's position that there was no breach of fundamental rights

Reasoning: EC Staff Regulations did not differentiate as to the sex of the partner, but on the legal nature of the relationship. Equal treatment could apply where situations are comparable, which was not the case with regard to registered partnerships vis--vis marriages. Thus homosexual partnerships were not afforded the same protections as married couples.

National laws diverged with regard same-sex partnerships, and it was up to the Community Legislature to decide on the issue.

 

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