Andorra does not permit same-sex marriage, so Juan García Pérez and his husband married in neighboring Spain. When his husband passed in 2011, Pérez was refused his husband’s pension and informed that they should have registered as domestic partners.
Using a colorful metaphor, Pérez’s lawyer, Maite Bourgaud, argued, “When two people go from being married to being domestic partners, it is as illogical as a nun becoming a novice.” Both the initial court and the Superior Court agreed, finding that the agency’s actions violated the 6th Article of Andorra’s Constitution, which establishes equality for all people, “independent of race, sex, origin, religion, belief, or any other personal or social factor.” The Court further stated that, “The Spanish institution of civil marriage between people of the same sex should not be considered as contrary to Andorran public order.”
While the Court’s ruling stops short of granting full marriage equality, it is a significant advance in a country with a mixed record on LGBT rights. For instance, while Andorran law recognizes domestic partnerships and prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, it still limits adoption to married heterosexual couples.
This ruling may become even more significant in the coming months, as the landlocked country’s other neighbor, France, advances towards marriage equality.