Leading Ukraine Opposition figure, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, risks disappointing liberal supporters of his All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” party, having publicly rejected gay marriage at a recent rally.
Yatsenyuk was confronted by a representative of the Western-Ukrainian Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community who said to him: “Many people live in love, but not in law. Promise me that if you become president, you will legalize same-sex relationships, and I promise that all gays and lesbians will vote for you.”
But Yatsenyuk, who leads “Fatherland” in the absence of jailed leader Yulia Tymoshenko, revealed that he rejects gay marriage because his personal beliefs stand in the way of any political position.
“I can tell you about this separately as a Christian and a Greek Catholic,” he said. “I do not support gay marriage.”
His reply has disappointed the LGBT community in Ukraine, which has looked to the Opposition for accommodation on social issues.
Yatsenyuk’s stance will also surprise western European gay rights groups, which had warned gay football fans last year that they could experience hostility while travelling to Poland and Ukraine for the Euro 2012 championship. By the end of the tournament there were few reported problems.
Last month Ukraine’s foreign minister Leonid Kozhara announced that Ukraine will introduce a law prohibiting discrimination against gays, which will afford them protection in line with European Union nations.
“The issue of homosexuals is now generating strong controversy in Ukraine, but our government has already prepared a draft law and will soon submit it to the parliament,” he said.