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
Health, Medical
  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
Health, Medical Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 28 August 2017, it was reported that a law stipulating that a gay man may donate blood if he has not had sexual relations with another man for the 12 preceding months was published in Belgium's Official Gazette, le Moniteur belge. The law will come into effect after an implementation decree is issued [R1.1].

R1.1 TheBrusselsTimes: Blood donations from gay men to be accepted conditionally 28 AUG 17
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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