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1 Jun, 2023 22:05

ECHR finds Ukraine in breach of gay rights

Kiev has been ordered to pay damages to a couple over its repeated refusal to register their marriage
ECHR finds Ukraine in breach of gay rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Ukraine to pay damages to a gay couple after multiple unsuccessful attempts to register their marriage in the country. The court announced its unanimous ruling on Thursday in a press release.

The two plaintiffs, Andrey Maymulakhin and Andrey Markiv, born in 1969 and 1984, respectively, are a gay couple from Kiev. The two, who have been “living together in a stable and committed relationship since 2010,” applied to seven offices to be married back in October 2014. All government bodies refused to register their marriage, citing Ukraine’s constitution and its Family Code, which define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Despite the fact that same-sex marriages remain illegal in the country, the ECHR deemed the refusal to be a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Namely, the refusal to register the marriage was a violation of Article 14, which prohibits discrimination, as well as of Article 8, which enshrines the right to respect private and family life, the court noted.

The ECHR ordered Kiev to pay the couple damages, awarding €32 in pecuniary damage, €5,000 in moral damage, and €4,000 in expenses to each of the plaintiffs.

The ruling was praised as “happy news” by one of the top same-sex marriage proponents in Ukraine, former deputy culture minister and MP of the self-described “liberal” and “pro-European” Golos party, Inna Sovsun. The ruling is expected to pave the way to finally recognizing same-sex marriages in Ukraine, she said in a Facebook post.

“By its decision, the ECHR obliged Ukraine to recognize the relationship of LGBT couples. This means that Ukraine, as a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, must adopt a law that legally recognizes same-sex couples and provides them with the opportunity to register their relationship as a family,” she wrote.

Back in March, Sovsun sponsored a bill legalizing same-sex civil partnerships. At the time, she argued that the move would please Kiev’s “Western allies,” as well as reward the service of LGBTQ soldiers in the ongoing conflict with Russia.