Top court rejects gay couple's complaint over marriage non-recognition

Although the court decreed that the country's constitution does not prohibit the possibility of same-sex unions, it found that a transcript of the Portuguese marriage certificate of two gay Polish men could not be entered into the Polish civil register. (illustrative photo) Jacek Turczyk/PAP

Poland's Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) has ruled that an official refusal to register a gay’s couple foreign marriage certificate on a civil registry was lawful as Polish law only recognises marriage between a man and a woman.

Although the court decreed that the country's constitution does not prohibit the possibility of same-sex unions, it found that a transcript of the Portuguese marriage certificate of two gay Polish men could not be entered into the Polish civil register.

The court's reasoning was outlined in a justification for the ruling published this week despite the ruling being made in July.

The governor of the central Polish province of Mazowieckie had earlier refused to recognise the certificate. The two men then took their case to a provincial administrative court, which rejected their complaint and referred the case to the NSA.

In July, the NSA issued a ruling in which it threw out the men's appeal.

Judge Sylwester Marciniak, an NSA representative, told PAP on Thursday that, "it means the administrative courts of both instances have ruled that the contested decision of refusing to include the marriage certificate of people of the same sex in the civil status registry was in line with the law.

"There is no possibility of including the marriage certificate of same-sex couples in the civil status registry," Marciniak said.

In a newly published justification of July's ruling, the NSA said the constitution guaranteed the protection of marriage as a union of a man and woman, however: "That law does not preclude the possibility of legally regulating unions of people of the same sex, whereas it underscores the specific protection of marriage, but as a union of women and men."

At the same time, the court noted that there is no law that would oblige a Polish legislator to institutionalise same-sex marriages.

On Thursday, the two plaintiffs tweeted: "The Supreme Administrative Court has finally ruled in our case that the Polish Constitution does not ban same-sex marriages. That means that (Justice Minister - PAP) Zbigniew Ziobro, (Education Minister - PAP) Przemyslaw Czarnek and others have been speaking falsely on the subject for years. Today we have it in writing."