A petition with nearly 30,000 signatures has been sent to President Zelenskyy urging the passage of same-sex marriage in Ukraine as gay soldiers and their partners find themselves with no legal rights or protections.
UPDATE: President Zelenskyy has asked his government to look into whether same-sex marriages should be legalized but said there would be no move as long as the war with Russia continued.
Reuters reports Zelenskyy said in an official statement: “I asked Prime Minister (Denys) Shmyhal to address the issue raised in the electronic petition and to inform me of relevant decisions.”
Hundreds — possibly thousands — of LGBT Ukrainian military recruits face a lack of legal rights for them and their partners, advocates say.
This, plus the threat of Russia imposing anti-LGBT policies, has turned the war into a catalyst for change. https://t.co/LYDXRvovMl
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 2, 2022
From the New York Times:
Under Ukrainian Ministry of Defense regulations, the military must inform the parents and spouse or other close relatives of a soldier who is killed. But in a country that does not recognize gay marriage or even civil unions, none of that applies to a same-sex partner.
The war is adding impetus to a drive to legalize gay marriage, with a petition recently reaching the desk of President Volodymyr Zelensky calling for same-sex partners to have the same rights as heterosexual couples, including the right to marry.
The petition’s author is Anastasia Sovenko, 24, an English teacher from Zaporizhzhia, in southern Ukraine, who identifies as bisexual.
She said she felt compelled to draft the petition after reading an article about heterosexual soldiers rushing to marry their partners before heading to war, and feeling sad, angry and frustrated that same-sex couples did not have that option.
Read the full report here.
The Times notes that among the rights gay soldiers lack, at such a crucial time in the country, are the right for same-sex partners to visit in the hospital, share property ownership, care for a deceased partner’s children, collect survivor death benefits, or even be able to claim the body of a fallen partner killed in war.
President Zelenskyy can either decline to act, endorse the petition and draft a gay rights bill to be sent to Parliament, or side-step the issue by sending the petition on to Parliament for debate.
LGBTQ advocates hope the push for marriage equality will help booster Ukraine’s liberal credentials in its application for membership in the European Union.
The hopes are not so high for full marriage equality, but at least for recognition of same sex partnership (like common law). Currently partners of lgbtq soldiers have no rights to even visit them at the hospital if something happens, not speaking of lots of other legal issues
— Alexei 🌻💙💛🇨🇦🏳🌈 (@AlexeiTwr) August 2, 2022