Contemporary European liberal democracies are based on the idea that individuals are free to choose their way of life, especially in the private sphere. Marriages and marriage-like relationships are some of the most important aspects of this freedom, confirmed by the art. 8 of the ECHR, according to which one has a right to establish and develop relationships with other human beings and the outside world, i.e. choose their relationship design. Making this choice real would be difficult without societies which value (and are not afraid of) pluralism of beliefs, cultures, and ways of life. Sometimes it is even assumed that human rights may lead societies towards pluralism. Without actual access to various ways of life, one’s agency cannot manifest itself properly.
Achieving these goals can be complex. The influx of migrants, the emergence of new religious movements, postulates of discriminated minorities pose new challenges and raise objections from the traditionalists and conservatives who are afraid to lose their way of life. Marriages and marriage-like relationships are a good illustration. At the same time, there are discussions concerning: religious marriages, their acknowledgment and meaning in civil legal systems; recognition of same sex-marriages and civil partnerships; and postulates on changing certain marital institutions in more liberal or more conservative ways. All of this raises controversies and demands closer examination.
The workshop aims to debate and deliberate upon this diversity of marriages and marriage-like relationships with its connections to human rights and various kinds of pluralism in Europe from the perspective of the interactions between law, society, and culture.

Possible questions related to this central theme include but are not limited to:
1. What are the reactions of European states to the emergence of more diverse relationship designs in increasingly pluralistic societies from the perspective of human rights?
2. What is and should be the legal response to the pluralism of relationship designs in Europe, e.g. religious-only marriages, culture-only marriages, same-sex marriages?
3. How does social, religious and cultural pluralism in Europe influences marriage and other relationship designs?
4. What are the dangers and positive aspects of the pluralism of relationship designs in the context of European human rights?
5. What challenges pose the influx of immigrants regarding the norms concerning relationships and marriages
6. Are the norms of marriage oppressive?
7. Who and to what extent should control the marriage rules, e.g. who can enter into such union, what unions are recognised as legally valid?
8. Is the right to marry needed as a human right?
9. Are new relationship designs symbolising growing awareness and struggle for new rights?
10. What are contemporary issues regarding marriage rules according to various religious and cultural communities (e.g. Muslims, Jews, Roma)?

Prof. Mateusz Stępień (Jagiellonian University), Anna Juzaszek (Jagiellonian University)