Laws

BELGIUM

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum / Refugees
Civil Unions
  Custody of Children
Discrimination
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Harassment
Hate Crimes
HIV/Aids
  Homosexuality
Immigration
Inheritance
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
Military
Partners
  Parenting
Property
Sodomy
Surrogacy
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death

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Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

Consensual sex between same-sex couples is lawful at age sixteen (16) years [R1.1].

R1.1 Interpol: Sexual Offences against Children PDF 44.04kb, Spring 06
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation
Surrogacy
Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CHILDREN] [PARENTING]
1.

National

Belgian law is silent on surrogate motherhood, leaving wide room for interpretation. There is no specific legal bar to a gay couple – or any couple – using a surrogate mother abroad and bringing the child back home [R1.2].

In February 2011, the Belgian Foreign Ministry decided to issue a passport to a surrogate child following a court decision saying bureaucrats had erred and the child was entitled to the document. The child was expected to come Belgium to join his parents, a gay married couple, one of whom is the biological father of the child born to a surrogate mother in the Ukraine [R1.1].

R1.2 FrontiersWeb: Boy stuck 2 years in Ukraine arrives in Belgium 26 FEB 11
R1.1 The Washington Post: Baby, stranded in Ukraine, to join Belgian parents 21 FEB 11
Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 13 July 2017, it was reported that a gay Ghanian man named Festus was forced back onto a plane to Ghana Currently in Ghana and there are concerns surrounding his safety. Currently, there is a three-year sentence for those caught in homosexual acts [R1.2].

A relatively new addition to the list of provisions enshrined in the 1951 UN Convention that entitles a person to apply for refugee status, "sexual orientation" owes its inclusion to a growing understanding in a handful of countries that lesbians and gays constitute a distinct social group. This article has been invoked to grant asylum to lesbians and gay men in Belgium [R1.1].

R1.2 GayTimes: Ghanaian refugee deported from Belgium for not being 'gay enough' 13 JUL 17
R1.1 Beirut Daily Star: For Some Young Lebanese Staying Means 'Life Will be Over' 12 OCT 01
Children: Access, Custody, Visitation Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In 2006, joint adoption by same-sex couples became legal [R1.5].

Previously:

In December 2005, legislation approving of adoptions for same-sex couples passed in the Lower House and was expected to be approved in the Upper House of Parliament [R1.4].

In June 2003, Same-sex couples were not permitted to adoption children [R1.3].

In November 2000, Belgium's Federal Minister for Family Affairs said homosexual couples living together would be able to adopt Belgian children [R1.2].

In November 2002, only the mother of a child being raised by a lesbian couple would be considered a parent [R1.1].

R1.5 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
R1.4 MCV: Gay Adoptions On The Way For Belgium 09 DEC 05
R1.3 365Gay.com: "Belgium's First Gay Wedding Held Today" 06 JUN 03
R1.2 Planet Out: Belgium Moves Towards Equality for Couples 01 DEC 00
R1.1 RTÉ Interactive News: Belgium to Follow Holland on Gay Marriage 29 NOV 02
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [INHERITANCE] [MARRIAGE] [PROPERTY]
1.

National

In January 2003, partners could file taxes jointly, benefit from unemployment pay-outs should one of the partners be out of work and had the same financial responsibilities in case of divorce [R1.3].

In May 2000, it was reported that the "statutory cohabitation contract" was unpopular since it came into force 1 January [R1.2].

In September 1999, the parties of Belgium's Federal Coalition Government agreed on provisions of a Statutory Cohabitation Contract that was to take effect 1 January 2000 [R1.1].

R1.3 United Press International: "Belgium legalizes gay marriage" 31 JAN 03
R1.2 Melbourne Star Observer: Belgian Partner Law Unpopular 19 MAY 00
R1.1 Melbourne Star Observer: Belgium to Enact Partner Measure 17 SEP 99

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Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [HARASSMENT]
1.

National

In 2003, discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation became unlawful [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 24 May 2017, the Parliament reportedly approved with 117 votes and 6 abstentions, a reform Bill to amend the gender recognition law doing away with the current situation that is, sterilisation and a mental health diagnosis will no longer be requirements for legal gender recognition however there are outstanding unaddressed issues. There is a three-month waiting period, Minors from age 12 will be able to bring their name in accordance with their gender identity. From 16 years a minor can apply for a change of gender marker, requiring the support of parents (legal guardians) and a personal statement. A youth psychiatrist's statement has to confirm that the decision has been taken freely and without any outside pressure [R1.2].

In 2007, a specific law was introduced on gender recognition after Gender Reassignment treatment [R1.1].

R1.2 TransgenderEurope: Belgium - New Gender Recognition Law with obstacles 24 MAY 17
R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
Hate Crimes Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In 2003, hate crimes based on sexual orientation became an aggravating circumstance [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

Consensual sex between same-sex couples is reported to have been decriminalised in 1795 [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
Inheritance Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [PARTNERS] [PROPERTY]
1.

National

The survivor of a same-sex relationship has the right to inherit the goods and property of the deceased partner [R1.2].

In November 1997, Belgium's government agreed to amend tax laws so that a surviving gay partner will pay lower inheritance taxes, but not as low as heterosexual spouses [R1.1].

R1.2 United Press International: "Belgium legalizes gay marriage" 31 JAN 03
R1.1 Capital Q: Tax Laws Recognise Same-Sex Couples 20 JUN 97
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In January 2003, the House of Representatives, passed a bill approving gay marriage in a 91–22 vote with nine abstentions, with the opposition Christian Democrat CdH and the extreme right Vlaams Blok voting against [R1.6].

The law, which comes into effect in the summer [R1.5] -

  • will only allow same-sex weddings among people whose home country recognises same-sex marriages;
  • will not permit couples to adopt children; and
  • will consider only the mother of a child being raised by a lesbian couple a parent;
  • will extend inheritance rights to the goods and property of a deceased partner;
  • will allowed partners to file taxes jointly, benefit from unemployment pay-outs should one of the partners be out of work and will have the same financial responsibilities in case of divorce.

On 01 June 2003, the law came into effect [R1.4].

Previously:

In June 2001, the Belgian government approved a Bill allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry [R1.3].

In October 2002, the Senate's Justice Commission voted 11–4 in favour of the bill [R1.2] and in November 2002, the Senate approved the Bill in a 46–15 vote with 4 abstentions [ R1.1].

R1.6 Associated Press: Parliamentary Vote Turns Belgium Into 2nd Nation to Approve Gay Marriage 30 JAN 03
R1.5 United Press International: "Belgium legalizes gay marriage" 31 JAN 03
R1.4 365Gay.com: "Belgium's First Gay Wedding Held Today" 06 JUN 03
R1.3 Reuters: Belgium Set to Legalise Gay, Lesbian Marriages 22 JUN 01
R1.2 Reuters: Belgium Moves Towards Gay Weddings 24 OCT 02
R1.1 RTÉ Interactive News: Belgium to Follow Holland on Gay Marriage 29 NOV 02
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
   
   

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