28 Jul 2011

Civl Partnership Bill Goes to Polish Parliament

On 27 July 2011, the Polish Parliament heard the first reading of a civil partnership bill which would regulate matters for same- and different-sex couples. The bill was read in a joint session of the Justice and Human Rights Committee and the Social Politics and Family Committee. The members voted (29 to 10) to send the bill further to a special subcommittee. Right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS) announced it would not take part in that committee.

The bill was drafted by the Initiative Group for Domestic Partnerships, which includes two members from the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH), Tomasz Szypula and Mariusz Kurc. The bill was presented by MP Ryszard Kalisz of the Left Democratic Alliance (SLD).

Voices were split as MPs from right-wing parties claimed that this bill is immoral, unconstitutional, will destroy family values, and that it is unnecessary as these issues can be taken care of currently with the help of a lawyer. Marzena Wróbel of PiS claimed it is a "promotion of homosexuality or pseudo-families". Members of the ruling PO party claimed that introducing an alternative to marriage could "destroy the whole legal system".

Meanwhile, MPs from left-wing parties and some from the ruling PO party argued the necessity to regulate these families. Robert Biedron, board member of KPH, took the floor and vouched that he, as someone living with a partner for 9 years, does not have access to many rights. Furthermore, he drew attention to the fact that the debate is not about morals, but about the legal system which discriminates.

As of now, the Speaker of the Sejm, Grzegorz Schetyna, has not promised that Parliament will finish work on the bill before the end of this term. Elections are planned for in late October.


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