Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky considers legalising same-sex marriage

This year the Warsaw Equality Parade hosted the Kyiv Pride's largest Ukraine's LGBTQ rights parade.
This year the Warsaw Equality Parade hosted the Kyiv Pride's largest Ukraine's LGBTQ rights parade. Photo credit: Getty Images

Ukraine is looking at legalising same-sex marriage and civil partnerships after a petition that called for equal marriage gained enough signatures for the president to consider the proposal.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday asked his government to look into whether same-sex marriages should be legalised but said there would be no move as long as the war with Russia continued.

Homosexuality is legal in Ukraine, but same-sex marriages are not recognised.

Kyiv has increased support for LGBTQ+ rights since Western-backed leaders came to power in 2014. Parliament passed legislation in 2015 to ban discrimination in the workplace, but it does not allow for same-sex marriage.

Zelensky - who noted the government was already looking at the legalisation of same-sex relationships - responded to an electronic petition pressing specifically for the legalisation of same-sex marriages.

"I asked Prime Minister [Denys] Shmyhal to address the issue raised in the electronic petition and to inform me of relevant decisions," he said in an official decree.

He noted the Ukrainian constitution defined marriage as being between a man and a woman and said that during wartime, no changes could be made.

Any petition in Ukraine that gains over 25,000 signatures automatically must be considered by the president but does not guarantee a law change.

Zelensky thanked the over 28,000 people who signed the petition for their active civil position and said he would work with his ministers to "ensure the rights and freedoms" of all Ukrainians.

"In the modern world, the level of democratic society is measured, among other things, through state policy aimed at ensuring equal rights for all citizens," Zelensky said. 

"Every citizen is an inseparable part of civil society, he is entitled to all the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine.

"All people are free and equal in their dignity and rights."

According to a survey by the sociological group "Rating" published in August 2021, 47 percent of Ukrainian respondents had a negative view of the LGBTQ+ community.

Russia has criminalised "propagandising" non-traditional sexual orientations to children since 2013. The law has been used to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists.