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Monday, 15 August 2022 09:47

President Zelensky Addresses Petition Calling For Marriage Equality In Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky responds to petition calling for same-sex marriages.

It’s been 174 days since the war in Ukraine started, and in that time, there’s been a growing awareness of the inequality that exists between same-sex and straight couples in the country. This awareness has given rise to a movement calling for the legalization of marriage equality, to which President Volodymyr Zelensky has responded.

The current situation in Ukraine is difficult, as you know. Many people are fighting and risking their lives to keep their country and freedom. Unfortunately, not all of these people are treated equally by the law. People who identify as LGBTQ+ do not have the same legal protections as others.

LGBTQ+ Rights In Ukraine

While Ukraine has legalized homosexuality in 1991, the LGBTQ+ community is far from being treated equally in the country. In fact, according to the watchdog organization ILGA-Europe, the country ranks 39th out of 49 European nations when it comes to LGBTQ rights. While there has been some progress made in recent years, much more needs to be done to ensure equality for all Ukrainians.

And it could start with legal recognition for same-sex relationships.

Zelensky Responds To Petition For Legalization Of Same-Sex Marriage

Petition calling for same-sex marriage.

Recently, a petition was launched that calls on President Zelensky to take action on LGBTQ+ issues.

The petition received more than 28,000 signatures, which means that, according to Ukrainian law, President Zelensky must respond to it.

So, in a message published on his official website, the President has said that he is open to the idea of civil partnerships for same-sex couples, but that marriage equality is currently not possible in Ukraine because of the country’s ongoing war as this requires a constitutional amendment.

“The Family Code of Ukraine defines that the family is the primary and main unit of society. A family consists of persons who live together, are connected by common life, have mutual rights and obligations. According to the Constitution of Ukraine, marriage is based on the free consent of a woman and a man (Article 51),” Zelensky wrote.

But “the Constitution of Ukraine cannot be changed during a martial law or a state of emergency (Article 157 of the Constitution of Ukraine),” he explained.

“In the modern world, the level of a democratic society is measured, among other things, through state policy aimed at ensuring equal rights for all citizens,” Zelensky also said. “Every citizen is an inseparable part of civil society. They are entitled to all the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine. All people are free and equal in their dignity and rights.”

UN Releases Report On The State Of LGBTQ+ People Affected By War

Ukraine city after Russia's invasion and destruction.

In June, the United Nations issued a statement calling attention to the plight of LGBTQ+ people affected by war. The statement noted that LGBTQ+ refugees often face exclusion, exploitation, and abuse. It called on all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety of this vulnerable group. The UN’s action underscores the growing awareness of the unique challenges facing LGBTQ+ people around the world. It also underscores the need for increased protection and support for this community, both in times of peace and conflict.

As you can see, the situation for the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine is complicated. They do not have the same legal protections as other citizens. And President Zelensky has stated that it is simply impossible to legalize same-sex marriage while the country is at war. However, he has said he is open to legalizing civil partnerships for same-sex couples to ensure equality for all as soon as possible. It will be interesting to see how this issue develops in the coming months. While there are certainly challenges ahead, it is encouraging that President Zelensky is committed to ensuring equality for all Ukrainians, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. With luck, they will resolve this issue in a way that benefits everyone involved.

Top Photo: Credit: Future Publishing via Getty Images

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