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Poland throws out gay civil partnership bill

Poland throws out gay civil partnership bill

Poland’s lawmakers have thrown out a draft bill for same-sex civil partnerships.

The lower house of parliament rejected three bills that would have legalized civil unions, as well as one giving unmarried partners limited rights such as the ability to inherit property.

Postponed from June last year, the Civil Platform bill was rejected in the first sitting by just 17 votes. 211 members of parliament voted for the measure, while 228 were against it.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk spoke out in favor of the reform before the votes.

He said: ‘You can’t question the existence of such people living in homosexual partnerships, and you can’t argue against the people who decide to live in such a way.’

He urged lawmakers to allow civil partnerships, appealing to ‘make the lives of Poles, also homosexuals, more dignified.’

Also before the voting, Justice Minister Jaroslaw Gowin declared the draft bills contradicted the Polish Constitution, citing Article 18 which states ‘marriage as a union between man and woman’ is protected by the state.

After the vote Robert Biredron, Poland’s first openly gay MP, said he vowed to continue leading the efforts to give legal rights to same-sex couples.

‘Changes are coming,’ he said. ‘More and more people see that maybe there is injustice in treating people that live in unregistered partnerships and who cannot solve their fundamental problems, everyday problems.’

Speaking to Gay Star News, gay activist of the Trans-Fuzja FoundationWiktor Dynarski said he was ‘saddened’ it came down to only 17 votes.

He said: ‘Both as an activist and as a private person, I am furious. Hopes are down, mostly because we have worked so hard and waited so long for these proposals.

‘These proposals were scrapped from the agenda in the summer. They were supposed to have been voted on in June, but it was postponed until now.

‘Once again, I feel my rights have been ignored, and the government does not take us seriously as citizens.’

Dynarski said he anticipated for civil partnerships to come up again in the next two years, but realistically felt it would have to wait three years when a new government will hopefully take office.

In 2003, the Polish government managed to agree and vote for a civil partnership bill, but it was later thrown out by the Senate.