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Luxembourg law does not accept same-sex marriage. However, the government elected in June 2009 has declared that marriage for same-sex couples is one of the issues that will be addressed during their term of election.
Since 1994, a Partenariat (PACS) is a legal alternative to marriage and is available for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. It gives rights to both partners, in particular regarding tax, social security and civil status issues. Essentially it is a contract between two people (never more) of either sex following a declaration to the civil registrar of their local Commune.
Any person legally resident in Luxembourg may register a civil partnership (PACS). The future partners must be living together and be aged 18 and over at the time of the PACS declaration.
To begin the preliminary formalities they enquire at the civil registrar of their place of residence where they will be given a list of documents to provide and usually a date for the declaration will be fixed. All documents must be in French, German or English, documents in any other language must be translated by an official translator. Foreigners may have to provide additional documents.
If either of the couple has been divorced or widowed they should supply proof in the form of an Acte de mariage (certified copy of the final divorce decree) or an Acte de décès (in the case of widowhood). For nationals of the European Community, the divorce should be evidenced by a "Certificate Referred to in Article 39 Concerning Judgments in Matrimonial Matters".
A financial agreement (convention patrimoniale) can be drawn up with the help of a notary, particularly if the couple wishes to establish additional terms of the agreement with regards to financial matters. This can be presented to the civil registrar during the PACS declaration or sent to the Parquet general in the following 6 month.
Once the documents have been verified by the civil registrar there is no waiting period and the declaration can be registered immediately by the civil registrar. However, it is possible to make an appointment for the declaration to take place at a set time in the room that is used for marriages.
The declaration is sent to the Parquet général within three days by the Civil Registrar. Following the registration at the Répertoire Civil, each partner receives a certificate stating that they are officially registered in a Partnership.
The declaration allows PACS partners the following:
Same-sex couples may not jointly adopt children.
Employees or civil servants are entitled to a special leave of six days for a PACS partnership event.
Cessation of the PACS agreement is made:
While some countries recognise the Luxembourg PACS civil union, a civil partnership entered into in another country is not recognised by Luxembourg law and the civil partner is not afforded the rights of a marriage partner with regards to immigration, tax or social security. However a couple already in a foreign civil partnership may not enter into a PACS agreement as they would not be able to produce a certificate stating that they are not already in a civil partnership of any kind.
A British civil partnership (for example) is not regarded as the equivalent of the civil union in Luxembourg because the contracts serve different purposes: the British civil partnership concerns same-sex partners and is equivalent to a marriage; the Luxembourg civil union is a partnership agreement between a same or different sex couple and is not equivalent to marriage.