First bill on civil partnership drafted in Ukraine
The first bill on civil partnership has been drafted in Ukraine. It still needs to be supplemented and amended, but the main thing is that the bill introduces the institution of civil partnership, a new concept for Ukrainian society. The authors of the bill gave a commentary to the Human Rights Information Centre.
The draft law on civil partnership was elaborated by the “Leviathan” think tank in cooperation with member of the Parliament of Ukraine of VI convocation Kateryna Lukyanova. The public discussion of the bill with active participation of LGBT representatives was held recently.
“You see, this bill is almost the only opportunity for gay people to have the right to at least some semblance of marriage. For us, and I am a homosexual, it is very important!” says Andriy Kravchuk, the Our World centre expert.
However, Kateryna Lukyanova notes that the bill was not written “specifically for LGBT.”
“I do believe that the laws should be drafted for the citizens of the country without singling out certain groups or minorities. The draft law on civil partnership was written for all Ukrainian citizens in order to encourage the Ukrainian government to fulfill its commitments under its Action Plan and in order to push such a bill through,” Kateryna Lukyanova explains.
Civil partnership is the state-recognized social institution which legally acknowledges the relationship between two people, who may be of same or different sexes, and do not want or are not able to legally register their marriage.
The institution of civil partnership provides an opportunity for same-sex and opposite-sex couples to register their relationship with a loved one. It also recognizes the right to common property (movable and immovable property), the possibility of inheritance and bequeathing jointly acquired property, the right to alimony and benefits, the opportunity to visit a partner in medical facilities, to learn about medical condition, to take care and dispose of body in case of death and so on.
However, despite the fact that this is probably the first bill to legalize relations between same-sex partners, many questions have arisen.
The controversial questions are the following: why does the bill stipulate that a notary officer, rather than local authorities shall register a partnership?; why does the right to register is available from the age of 21 while the age of full criminal responsibility is 18 years old? Regulation of relations between Ukrainian citizens and foreigners, proposed by the bill, also triggers questions.
“The bill was drafted from the perspective of its adoption in the Verkhovna Rada. The fate of the bill often depends on 226 MPs. The bill is not perfect and still needs to be improved, for example, in terms of social payments, penitentiary field, guardianship, etc. We will certainly make amendments after today’s meeting. However, the most important thing is that we want to found the institution of civil partnership, a new concept for Ukrainian society, with the help of this law,” Mykola Melnyk, the expert of the “Leviathan” think tank, says.
Bohdan Hloba, Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization “Fulcrum”, notes that Ukraine will not be able to avoid making decision on civil partnership, despite divisiveness of the issue.
“In 2-3 years, Ukraine is likely to get a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on registration of partnerships and will be obliged to pay EUR 30 million. This application is already being considered. This ruling will be followed by dozens of new ones. For the state not to pay EUR 30,000 each time, it should adopt a law on civil partnership,” Hloba explains.
Now the bill is being finalized. Then, the document’s authors and activists plan to hold public discussion of the draft and to register it in the Parliament.
As a reminder, effective Ukrainian legislation is being prepared for amending within the framework of Ukraine’s commitments to the EU. In particular, Ukraine could legalize the institution of civil partnership in 2017. This legalization is provided for in the National Human Rights Strategy until 2020.