Hilary White


Polish parliament narrowly defeats civil unions bills

Hilary White

WARSAW, January 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a close vote, Poland’s lower house of parliament (Sejm) has rejected legislation to create same-sex civil partnerships. The Civil Platform bill, supported by Prime Minister Donald Tusk and brought forward by the ruling Civic Platform party, was rejected in the first sitting by 228 to 211.

Two other bills that would have recognized same-sex unions, which were brought forward by homosexual MP Robert Biedron of the Palikot Movement party, were also rejected by solid majorities. 

Tusk said in defence of the legislation, “One can’t close one’s eyes to social facts. We have marriages described by the law and guaranteed by the constitution, we have informal couples, and we have homosexual relationships, as well as singles. It seems obvious that the current legal setup doesn’t reflect that those social facts exist.”

Taken together, the bills would have granted unmarried, cohabiting couples the right to officially register as legal entities with rights, including inheritance of property without taxation and access to information normally available only to married couples. Supporters of the government bill argued that the proposals were “conservative” on the grounds that they did not attempt to legalise same-sex “marriage” or adoption.

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Conservatives rejected the bills as an attack on the family and the traditional identification of marriage with procreation. The government’s bill was also opposed by the justice minister, Jaroslaw Gowin, who argued that the legislation was incompatible with Poland’s constitution, Article 18, which defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

“Society can’t fund a sweet existence to unstable, barren unions of people from whom it doesn’t benefit only because of the sexual attachment that binds them,” said Krystyna Pawlowicz of the opposition Law and Justice party.

The bills, Pawlowicz said, seek to “exhibitionistically allow for displays, in the public sphere, of sexual inclinations that violate the sense of aesthetics and morality.”

The bills’ promoters promised to bring the proposals back to Parliament in the near future.

A 2009 poll found that at the time there was little support in the general public for same-sex unions. It found that only 14 per cent polled supported same-sex “marriage.” Seventy-five percent were opposed and 11 per cent unsure.

In November, the Polish Supreme Court ruled that the surviving member of a same-sex partnering could take over the lease on a jointly rented apartment in the event one should die.

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