President Volodymyr Zelenskiy received a petition calling for same-sex partners to be granted the same rights as heterosexual couples, including the right to marry. “At the moment, each day may be the last” – we read in the petition, signed by over 30 thousand. people. This is enough for the president to consider it. The petitioner is Anastasia Sovenko, a 24-year-old English teacher from Zaporizhia, who identifies herself as bisexual.
Pursuant to the regulations of the Ministry of Defense in force in Ukraine, the military must inform his parents, spouse or other close relatives of the death of a soldier who has died at the front. However, in a country that does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions, these rules do not apply to a same-sex partner. Soldiers fighting at the front and LGBTQ women fear that their partners will not find out about their death in time and will not be able to attend the funeral.
They are not related by law. They are just two strangers
Hundreds or even thousands of LGBTQ military recruits fight on the Ukrainian front, whose partners do not have the right to visit them in the hospital, inherit their property in the event of death, take care of the deceased partner’s children, take away his body or use the benefits due to relatives and family under the death.
Anastasia Sovenko, a 24-year-old English teacher from Zaporizhia, told The New York Times that she decided to write a petition after reading an article about heterosexual soldiers who wanted to marry their partners as soon as possible before going to war. Anastasia admitted that she felt sad, angry and frustrated that same-sex couples did not have the opportunity.
“They will not be able to visit their soul mate in the hospital if something happens,” said Sovenko. “If they are raising a child, it will be taken from the parent, if it is not the mother who gave birth to it. Because according to the law, they are not related. They are just two strangers to each other. This could be the last opportunity for marriage in their lives.”
Any attempt to change the law requires changes to the constitution and the consent of two-thirds of the parliament. LGBTQ rights activists hope the president will support their efforts to grant equal rights to same-sex marriage. President Zelenskiy can refuse or support the petition by drafting a bill on LGBTQ rights and sending it to Parliament, in which his party has a majority. It may also refer the petition for further debate in Parliament. So far, the president’s office has not commented on the matter.
In March, a photo of Ivan Honzyk, who was a hairdresser and out of the LGBT + community before the war, was published on Ukraine’s official Instagram account. This is one of many reports that many LGBT + soldiers are fighting in the Ukrainian army. “The Ukrainian LGBTQ + community is quite closed. That is why we – LGBTQ + soldiers – put emphasis on encouraging people to express themselves,” Honzyk said in an interview with “Replika”. “There are a lot of us in the army. That’s why it hurts me to hear that gays don’t fight, that they stay at home.”
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