Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission
The Commission cannot support the viewpoint expressed by the Honourable Member that the statement given by the Vice-President responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship at the Parliament on 7 September 2010 conflicts with the principle of ‘unity in diversity’.
It is for the Member States to decide whether or not they provide in their internal legal order for same-sex unions, including marriage. The EU cannot adopt substantive legislation in this area.
Without prejudice to national legislation on family law, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the implementation of EC law by the Member States is prohibited by Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Member States implement Union law, for example, when applying the provisions on free movement to Union citizens and their family members wishing to move from one Member State to another.
Under EC law on free movement, family members can accompany Union citizens having exercised their right to freedom of movement or residence, irrespective of the sexual orientation of the persons involved. The exercise by EU citizens of their rights to free movement and residence, as provided by EC law, has to be complied with by Member States and does not require that the Member States provide in their internal legal order for same-sex unions.