Council of Churches urges the government not to equate same-sex cohabitation with family
The full text of the statement is as follows:
The recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of "Maymulahin and Markiv v. Ukraine" has sparked a new wave of discussion regarding the threats posed by legislative initiatives promoting unnatural sexual relations and granting family status to same-sex cohabitation. In its 2007 declaration, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations already articulated its position on homosexuality and so-called same-sex marriages.
It is important to remember that ECtHR decisions cannot serve as a basis for changing the constitutional foundations of the country. Neither the European Court nor the Council of Europe as a whole have the authority to change the legislation of any state. Although the mentioned ECtHR decision is binding in terms of financial compensation, it does not oblige Ukraine to change its legislation contrary to the existing Constitution. Currently, Ukraine is fighting for its sovereignty and the right of the Ukrainian people to independently determine their fundamental values and principles in the field of family and demographics.
The staggering number of cases considered by the ECtHR involving Ukrainians (over 10,000 applications) indicates the serious problems faced by our country. The overwhelming majority of these cases (around 9,000 applications) are related to human rights violations in the occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea, which are the result of Russian aggression. Furthermore, about 95% of the remaining cases against Ukraine concern non-compliance with court decisions, indicating systemic problems in our country's judicial system. Thus, the lack of an independent and fair judiciary is the greatest human rights problem in Ukraine, as repeatedly emphasized by the Council of Churches and Religious Organizations.
We understand that international institutions and foreign partners, taking advantage of the vulnerability and complex situation in our country, may try to pressure Ukraine into legislative changes that would deviate from our family values. However, Ukraine operates under a continental legal system, where the fundamental principles of life are determined by the Constitution and laws, not judicial decisions. Regardless of the supporters of gender ideology who would like to use the aforementioned ECtHR decision and external influences to rewrite the Constitution of Ukraine and undermine the value of the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, only the Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to decide such matters.
Initiatives to equate same-sex cohabitation with family (formal legalization of so-called same-sex partnerships, de facto equating them with marriage, and granting them adoption rights) are extremely dangerous during the current demographic crisis in Ukraine, which is exacerbated by the ongoing war. According to recent studies, as of May 2023, Ukraine's permanent population stands at only 29 million people. Russian aggression has led to 8.6 million Ukrainians leaving and not returning to their homeland, which threatens the lack of human resources for the post-war recovery of our state and the revival of the Ukrainian nation.
The Ukrainian state cannot ignore this demographic problem and cannot agree to external pressure aimed at undermining the family values of our people. We must preserve our nation and provide the best conditions for the upbringing of Ukrainian children, including orphans, within a loving family where both a father and a mother are present.
It is essential to emphasize that Ukraine differs from Russia and its genocidal ideology of the "Russian world" in that our people have demonstrated their respectful attitude toward universal religious and family values not just in words but through sacrificial actions. For the sake of a sustainable future, we call on the President, the Cabinet of Ministers, and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to preserve and protect the family as the basic unit of society, rooted in traditional Christian values and enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine.
May God grant wisdom and understanding to all those responsible for making decisions that shape the future of our nation.
Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations