Ukrainian church leaders denounced plans to allow same-sex unions through reforms saying that the provisions will destroy the basic social institution of the family in a July 23 letter. In this photo, Ukrainians attend Pope Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 10. The sign in Italian says, "Holy Father, Pray for Ukraine." CNS photo/Paul Haring

Ukraine churches reject constitutional move on same-sex rights

By  Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service
  • July 24, 2015

WARSAW, Poland - Ukrainian church leaders condemned plans to permit same-sex partnerships under a series of constitutional reforms.

"These provisions threaten to plunge the Ukrainian state into the abyss of immorality and sin, to destroy the family as the basic social institution and popularize relationships between persons of the same sex which are unnatural for human beings," the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations said in a July 23 letter.

"In its appeals, our council has stressed the need to incorporate, in one way or another, principles of identity and human relations which are traditional for Ukrainian citizens," the council said.

The council, a group of 19 churches and faiths, including Catholics and Orthodox, issued the letter in response to the amendments, which the Ukrainian parliament has been debating. Plans call for adopting the amendments in the fall.

The letter, addressed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and parliament officials, said two articles covering human rights and civic freedoms, would "seriously threaten" family life and traditional marriage.

Meanwhile, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church also criticized the amendments and said the drafting commission, appointed by Poroshenko, had "rejected all warnings" by churches and submitted "opposite proposals" instead.

"References to European experience are irrelevant, because the European Union has opposing views about anti-discrimination legislation, marriage and family, and the legal opportunities for sexual minorities," Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych told parliament chairman Volodymyr Groysman in a July 16 letter.

"Poland, Croatia, Hungary and Italy, in particular, demonstrate their commitment to the traditional family and moral values as members of the European Union," the letter said.

The amendments were drafted as pro-Russia rebels continued to hold the eastern region of the country and also have been criticized by Russia for allegedly failing to include enough autonomy for the separatist-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as outlined in a February cease-fire agreement.

Speaking July 23 to a European Parliament delegation, Groysman said the amendments, currently under review by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, would "start Ukraine's transformation from a post-Soviet centralized state into a European democratic country."

However, in their letter, church leaders said legalizing same-sex partnerships would be "unacceptable to the moral health of society and its natural development," adding that they hoped to explain their concerns in fresh talks with Poroshenko.

A Soviet-era ban on homosexual activity was lifted when Ukraine regained independence in 1991, although gays and lesbians complain of widespread discrimination and severe harassment in Donetsk and Luhansk.

The country's 1991 constitution describes marriage as the voluntary union of a man and woman, and offers no recognition of same-sex relationships.

Opinion polls have shown little public support for expanded same-sex freedoms, and 25 gay activists were arrested during a brief June 6 gay pride parade in Kiev even though the parade was defended by Poroshenko.

Comments (1)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I have a feeling this was part of the agenda in the US supporting the overthrow of the previous government and installing what amounts to a puppet regime. This is no surprise. I have been waiting for this initiative to come about.

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.