Polish Government Introducing Civil-Partnership Law, Facing Opposition

Platforma Obywatelska (PO), the ruling party in Poland, is expected to introduce legislation legalizing same-sex civil partnerships, but the measure is facing harsh criticism in the deeply Catholic nation.

A draft of the bill, similar to the civil-partnership law in France, offers numerous benefits including medical rights and access to pensions and inheritance,—but stops short of bestowing adoption rights and joint tax filing.

It’s a surprising turn for the centrist party—especially since PO opposed a similar bill last year—but it could be a way to stave off full marriage equality should the European Union push for more recognition of same-sex couples across the continent.

Opponents, including justice minister Jaroslaw Gowin and members of the reactionary Law & Justice Party, claim civil partnerships will undermine the institution of marriage. Anti-gay sentiment still plagues the Eastern-European country, which currently has a ban on same-sex marriage: Nearly 80% of Poles opposing gay marriage, and 66% believing LGBT people shouldn’t have the right to organize public demonstrations. (Pride parades in Warsaw and elsewhere have been canceled over safety concerns.)

The tide is turning, though: In October Poland elected its first openly gay member of parliament, Robert Biedro?, and its first transgender MP, Anna Grodzka.

Photo: Paul David Doherty