Kosovo’s draft civil code law, in the works since 2014, was recently voted down in the Assembly. The tone of the Assembly debate was set by deputy Duda Balje, head of the legislative committee for human rights and gender equality, in a Facebook post where she came out against the code because of a single sentence about same-sex civil unions. The post soon became a center of hate speech against people from the LGBTQ+ community.
During the debate over the draft law a number of deputies misrepresented the law, claiming that it would recognize same-sex marriage. In fact, it not only doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, it doesn’t even recognize same-sex civil unions, only making a vague statement that a future law will regulate such civil unions.
Nevertheless, deputies spoke out in defense of what they termed family and traditional values. To do so, they relied on common homophobic attitudes and fearmongering misconceptions. Same-sex civil unions, in the words of the majority of deputies who voted against the code, would destroy the family, risk the future existence of humankind and endanger public morality and health. Neither the Prime Minister or the President have condemned the language used in the Assembly.
One sentence in this 1,630 article-long law became the cause for the code to be rejected. While the session is over, the echoes of what was said in the Assembly reverberate, further burdening LGBTQ+ people, who even before this discussion on the code faced systematic oppression.
Now that the draft civil code has been voted down, a new draft is expected to go to the deputies for a vote. What does all that was said in the Assembly tell us about the state of human rights in Kosovo? What can we expect from the new draft of the civil code? How did we get here? These are just some of the questions that we will address in our next discussion with:
- Blert Morina, Executive Director of the Center for Equality and Liberty (CEL)
- Naim Qelaj, Ombudsperson of Kosovo
- Nazlie Balaj, Political Advisor to the Minister of Justice in Kosovo.
The discussion will be moderated by Aulonë Kadriu, editor at K2.0.
Translation in English and Serbian will be provided.
Feature Image: Ferdi Limani / K2.0.
This talk is organized with the financial support of the European Union, as part of the project “Citizens Engage”, implemented by Kosovo 2.0 with GAP Institute. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Kosovo 2.0 and GAP Institute and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
Why do I see this disclaimer?