Ukrainian law students and young lawyers are reporting for JURIST on developments in and affecting Ukraine. This dispatch is from Yulii Kozub, a law student from Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. He files this from Vienna.
Last week, on March 13th, a draft law regarding “registered same-sex partnerships” that had been submitted for approval by Ukrainian MP and well-known activist Inna Sovsun was officially published on the website of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament). This initiative is already supported by a large number of deputies from the liberal presidential party “Servant of the People” and the opposition right-liberal party “Voice”.
Under the proposed legislation, after state registration, same-sex partners would acquire the status of close relatives, namely, a member of the first degree of kinship in relation to each other, regardless of whether they actually live together and run a household together. Partnership registration takes place after 10 days from the date of submission of the corresponding application, and dissolution is possible both upon a joint application and at the will of one of the parties (by the court in separate proceedings, and no measures for conciliation or establishment of reasons for dissolution are taken).
“In case of support by the Verkhovna Rada, the draft law will finally help couples define mutual rights and obligations, property ownership, inheritance, social protection, and rights in case of death or disappearance of a partner. Nothing extraordinary. Everything that is always the default…”, Sovsun wrote on her social media.
Today, the protection of such rights is more necessary than ever. Many members of the LGBT community participate in military operations together, but are effectively deprived of their rights if something happens to their partner.
In 2022, more than 25,000 people signed a petition to legalize same-sex marriage. It was reviewed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He explained that he is committed to human rights and freedoms and that this issue is really important However, during wartime, he said that such initiatives cannot be considered because the Constitution must be changed. However, he assured that it was only a matter of time and that the legalization of same-sex marriage would be considered after the war was over.
Meanwhile, public opinion in Ukraine has been changing. In a December 2007 Angus Reid Global Monitor survey, 81.3 per cent of Ukrainians said homosexuality would “never be acceptable to them”, 13 percent said it was “sometimes acceptable to them” and 5.7 percent said it was “acceptable”. In May 2013 a poll by GfK Ukraine found that 4.6% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and 16% supported other forms of recognition, while 79.4% were opposed to any form of recognition. According to a June 2022 poll 57.8 people support same-sex marriage in Ukraine.
As a country seeking integration into the European Union, Ukraine is committed to upholding European values, including respect for human rights, equality before the law and non-discrimination. People’s consciousness has been changing dramatically since 2014, the year of the Euromaidan. Ukrainians are showing that they are part of the civilised world, that they share the principles of freedom and equality and are ready to fight for their rights