Heavy resistance against Zelensky’s openness to same-sex marriage


Eastern Europe


Pride march in Kyiv in Ukraine, September last year. Photo EPA, Sergey Dolzhenko

The Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky is heavily criticised for his openness to gay marriage. Changing the concept of marriage is not only against the Constitution but against Ukrainian morals and tradition as well, critics say.

The website Christians for Ukraine expects much “public upheaval” if the government really proceeds in this direction. Earlier this week, the President asked the government to consider introducing gay marriage, as was requested by 28,000 people in an online petition. Same-sex marriage has grown out to be the masterpiece of LGBT rights. After 2000, this has become the norm in almost all Western European countries. It seems to be self-evident that this topic will also be on the agenda during talks with the European Union.

Zelensky’s words were “very disturbing”, states Christians for Ukraine, since the President only referred to the Constitution that cannot be changed during wartime. “There was no denial of the permissibility of homosexual marriages in Ukraine or reference to Ukrainian traditions and moral norms in the president’s answer,” the platform writes. Zelensky does not defend the current wording of the Constitution. “From this, it can be concluded that in the absence of this restriction, the president allows the amendment of Article 51 of the Basic Law.” That article says that “marriage is based on the free consent of a woman and a man”.

The website fears that this shows Zelensky’s “commitment to the leftist agenda”, which is “harmful and inappropriate in a time of war.”

Marriage light

Zelensky wrote that the government in Kyiv had “worked out options” for a civil partnership for homosexuals already. With that, he refers to the action plan for human rights. The Union of Orthodox Journalists calls this partnership a “light version” of gay marriage. This is not an alternative to full marriage but an “intermediate step” towards that.

Article 51 in the Constitution of Ukraine

Marriage is based on the free consent of a woman and a man. Each of the spouses has equal rights and duties in the marriage and family.

Parents are obliged to support their children until they attain the age of majority. Adult children are obliged to care for their parents who are incapable of work.

The family, childhood, motherhood and fatherhood are under the protection of the State.

It is clear that even the “option” to introduce a registered partnership for gay people, led to a strong public opposition. Up to 80 local councils have spoken out against it, and also many public organisations have announced their opposition. The opposition has been effective because the original plan to allow the adoption of children by transsexual people is off the table.

According to the news site, it is difficult for Ukraine to stop this legislation. “The country now really needs the help of the West, which can dictate any conditions. And the promotion of LGBT ideology can be one of them.”

Gay march in Kyiv in May 2021. Photo AFP, Sergei Supinsky

No practical need

The civic movement All Together reports about Ihor Fris, the chairman of the parliamentary committee about legal affairs. This Member of Parliament has promised to do “everything possible” to keep the present wording of the Constitution. According to him, there is no practical need for homosexuals to marry officially to create an inheritance agreement or anything else. Existing legislation provides for that.

Pride march in Kyiv in Ukraine, September last year. Photo EPA, Sergey Dolzhenko

The movement also reports about voices from the military, saying that they are “not fighting for this” (namely same-sex marriage). “I went to war to save the people and the future of our country”, a certain Christian Udarov writes. He and other military personnel find it “absolute unacceptable” to use war to introduce this.

Changing the Constitution

In Ukraine, the Constitution is not easy to change. The parliament has to vote about it in at least two sessions; the amendments must have the consent of the Constitutional Court and receive at least 300 of the 450 votes.

Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe have marriage described in the Constitution as a relationship between a man and a woman. This week, a group of Members of Parliament in the Czech Republic proposed to do the same in that country.



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