Polish lawmakers vote down civil unions bill

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, January 25, 2013 16:05 EDT
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The exterior of Poland's Parliament in Warsaw, Poland on November 21, 2012. (AFP)
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Polish lawmakers on Friday voted down three bills on civil unions for unmarried couples, a move backed by gay rights activists but fiercely opposed by conservatives in the deeply Catholic country.

None of the drafts included provisions that would legalise gay marriage and adoption, similar to proposals by the French government that recently sparked mass protests in Paris.

Friday’s vote was the second time in six months Polish lawmakers rejected bills aimed at introducing civil unions for gay and straight couples. In July, the lower chamber of parliament rejected four similar draft laws.

Surveys show that nearly 80 percent of Poles oppose gay marriage and around 90 percent believe that gay and lesbian couples should not have the right to adopt children.

Two left-wing parties, the former communist Democratic Left Alliance and the Palikot Movement, proposed bills sanctioning same-sex and heterosexual civil partnerships, and granting them joint taxation and survivorship rights.

A draft tabled by the governing centre-right Civic Platform (PO) of Prime Minister Donald Tusk allowing civil unions for same-sex couples but stopping short of survivorship rights also fell flat by a narrow margin of 17 votes with 228 for, 211 against and 10 abstentions in the 460-seat parliament.

The right-wing Catholic-nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party has cast doubt on the constitutionality of the proposed same-sex partnership legislation, arguing that the Polish constitution explicitly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The bills would “enshrine in law the moral downfall of society and exacerbate the crisis of the traditional model of the family,” PiS lawmaker Artur Gorski told parliamentarians during the debate.

The Tusk government refused to take an official position on the issue which has proven deeply divisive, driving more conservative factions of the administration to side with the PiS opposition.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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