Examining Factors and Dynamics of Shifting European Human Rights Standards: the Case of Same-Sex Marriage

01 October 2017 → 30 September 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Human Rights
Project description

Human rights have been interpreted to allow them to remain current and practical –dynamic

interpretation –in a world that differs greatly from when they were first drafted in treaties. The

European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has developed its own dynamic approach to interpreting

the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The concern with this dynamic approach and the ECHR is that the ECtHR has set no clear path on

how it is used when facing morally and culturally sensitive rights such as Lesbian Gay Bisexual

Transgender (LGBT) rights. This is particularly the case for same-sex marriage which has drawn

much criticism from proponents and opposition alike. Europe’ division on this issue only serves to

threaten the ECtHR’ legitimacy as its judgments reflect a disconnect between progressing human

rights standards and obeying traditional moral and ethical concerns.

This project will first analyse two groups of ECtHR cases, one is a broad examination of LGBT rights

and the second (its subset) –the specific right to marriage for same-sex couples; and how the

ECtHR used its dynamic approach in its reasoning in each different groups of cases. The next step

looks outside the legal sphere to see what other factors influence the ECtHR according to other

stakeholders. The goal is to understand where the ECtHR is heading in relation to LGBT rights and

what elements should same-sex marriage proponents take into account for future litigation.