Ukraine Considering Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Amid War

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A petition in Ukraine calling for same-sex marriage to be legalized has gained enough signatures for the president to consider the proposal.

The petition has more than 28,000 signatures, meaning President Volodymyr Zelensky now has 10 days to respond.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Ukraine, but same-sex marriages and civil partnerships are not recognized.

This has caused particular problems for LGBT people signing up for the military following Russia’s invasion.

For example, under Ukrainian law, if someone in a same-sex relationship dies, their partner cannot collect their body or bury them.

The online petition says: “At this time, every day can be the last.”

One LGBT organization has described the petition as an “important moment” for members of the community.

“It is important that LGBTQ people have the right to see their partner and take their body from the morgue, and seek compensation if needed,” Oksana Solonska, media communications manager at Kyiv Pride, told the BBC.

“All married couples have these rights. We really hope that same-sex marriage will be legalized, so people will be able to take care of each other,” she added.

Any petitions in Ukraine that gather more than 25,000 signatures automatically trigger the president’s consideration. However this does not guarantee any changes to the current law, and it is not clear whether Zelensky will move to legalize same-sex marriage.

While some efforts have been made to protect LGBT people in Ukraine – such as an anti-discrimination law that was introduced in 2015 – its LGBT community has suffered homophobia, intolerance, and violence.

In 2013, the country’s first official Pride march was held in Kyiv despite protests – it was meant to happen the previous year, but was canceled after a gathering of skinheads threatened participants.

And in 2018, activists were attacked at a Kyiv transgender rally by far-right militants.

One LGBT organization has described the petition as an “important moment” for members of the community.

“It is important that LGBTQ people have the right to see their partner and take their body from the morgue, and seek compensation if needed,” Oksana Solonska, media communications manager at Kyiv Pride, told the BBC.

“All married couples have these rights. We really hope that same-sex marriage will be legalized, so people will be able to take care of each other,” she added.

Any petitions in Ukraine that gather more than 25,000 signatures automatically trigger the president’s consideration. However this does not guarantee any changes to the current law, and it is not clear whether Zelensky will move to legalize same-sex marriage.

While some efforts have been made to protect LGBT people in Ukraine – such as an anti-discrimination law that was introduced in 2015 – its LGBT community has suffered homophobia, intolerance, and violence.

In 2013, the country’s first official Pride march was held in Kyiv despite protests – it was meant to happen the previous year, but was canceled after a gathering of skinheads threatened participants.

And in 2018, activists were attacked at a Kyiv transgender rally by far-right militants.

View the petition here.

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