Gay couple wins discrimination case against Ukraine at European Human Rights Court

A Ukrainian gay couple has won a discrimination case against Ukraine at the European Court of Human Rights, the court announced on June 1.

The judges concluded that the Ukrainian government had violated the right of Andrii Maimulakhin and Andrii Markiv to legalize their relationship.

The couple, represented by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and Nash Svit, an LGBT rights watchdog, applied to the European court in 2014 due to being unable to legalize their relationship in Ukraine.

The court said that the plaintiffs were discriminated against due to their sexual orientation and awarded them 5,000 euros ($5,380) in compensation.

"Unlike heterosexual couples who prefer not to marry for personal reasons, but still have the right to legal recognition and protection..., the applicants have neither access to marriage in Ukraine nor the opportunity to receive any alternative form of legal recognition," the court stated in its ruling.

During the proceedings, the Ukrainian state pointed out that the two applicants could regulate certain property aspects of their shared life under civil law.

The human rights court responded that such provisions are too limited and do not equal full recognition and protection of the spouses.

The judges pointed out the growing trend of legally recognizing same-sex relationships among the member states of the Council of Europe.

Ukraine's constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman and the country's law does not recognize same-sex civil unions.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in August 2022 that after the war, his government would explore solutions for the legalization of same-sex civil partnerships.

On March 7, 2023, Inna Sovsun, an MP from the Holos party, submitted a draft law on the registration of same-sex couples.