Monday, May 27, 2024
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International Day Against Homophobia and LGBTQ+ rights in Monaco

May 17th marks the International Day Against Homophobia yet for all, basic human rights are still not equal. Jameson Farn reports.

Surprisingly to many, given all the glitz and glam of the luxury lifestyle within the Principality of Monaco, same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples in Monaco are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples. In fact, Monaco is the least developed among Western European countries in terms of LGBTQ+ equality.

The Principality of Monaco ranks in the bottom 10% of 49 European and Central Asian countries monitored annually by an international civil rights association advocating for equal civil and economic rights for LGBTQ+ citizens. Only 5 countries are rated worse than Monaco: Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan.

In Monaco, numerous accounts exist detailing the stark absence of fundamental LGBTQ+ equality rights. Below are some instances of discrimination encountered by residents, non-Monegasque inhabitants, and foreign workers. The identities and nationalities of individuals involved have been altered.

Brigitte, a resident of France, has dedicated 35 years of her life to working in Monaco, diligently contributing to the Social Security and Retirement program throughout this period. At 72, she married her partner of 29 years in 2015. Despite this, Brigitte’s spouse currently lacks any entitlement to spousal rights within the retirement system, meaning she will not receive any spousal “reversion” benefits upon Brigitte’s passing. Brigitte’s spouse, although younger, faces a medical condition that hampers her ability to work full-time, making the denial of her spousal “reversion” benefits particularly impactful.

Audrey is a Monegasque citizen and has an approved civil union PACS with her partner Sylvie. If Audrey dies before her partner, Sylvie will be forced to pay an inheritance tax on the apartment they share although a married heterosexual couple would pay no tax. In addition, the law prohibits two members of the same sex to live together in the same apartment unless they are related by birth.

Henry and James, legally wed in France, call Monaco home. But, if James were to suffer a car accident and be admitted to a Monaco hospital in a coma, Henry would face a distressing reality: he would have no legal authority to make any decisions regarding James’s treatment, including critical matters such as resuscitation

Léa and Margot, Monegasques, had a child, the latter is enrolled in daycare. Margot was unable to pick up her child from daycare because she is not the biological mother. Léa had to sign an authorization so that her mother could collect it. However, the daycare charges this household on all of their income.

Maud and Louise work in the private sector in Monaco and have a child. The Medical Benefits Service in Monaco considers this household as such and takes all income into account. However, when it comes to family allowances, Maud is considered a single mother. In addition, Louise was unable to benefit from leave linked to the birth of their child.

The Rainbow Map, now in its 12th year, is published by the International Lesbian & Gay Association (ILGA) which is co-funded by the European Commission.

The Rainbow Map uses seven categories and 74 criteria to examine the LGBTQ+ laws and policies of each nation, including equality and non-discrimination in the workplace and at home.

Although Monaco’s historical ties to the Catholic Church are often cited for the poor performance, there are no other predominantly Catholic countries in the bottom 10%. In fact, the number-one rated country on the Rainbow Map is Malta whose population is 96% Catholic and whose Constitution establishes Catholicism as the state religion. 

Nearly half of the 49 countries covered by the Rainbow Map recognize civil unions or marriages between same-sex couples, Monaco’s failure to recognize marriages legally binding in other countries results in a significant loss of civil and economic rights.

With this, we strive on, with a growing number of local individuals showcasing our strength.

This year for the first time in Monaco, the “MON’ARC EN CIEL” association was created to defend and promote the individual and collective rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people in the Principality.

For more details, contact: monarcenciel@monaco.mc. Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monarcencielmonaco/

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