Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses disappointment that the Proposal of the Law on the life partnership of the same – sex partners was not adopted yesterday in the Parliament of Montenegro. It is also hypocritical of political parties which rhetorically advocate for human rights protection to deprive human rights to one of the most discriminated groups in Montenegrin society for the sake of their particular interests.
Montenegrin LGBTIQ community was excitedly awaiting the adoption of the Law on the life partnership of the same – sex partners, as it would mean turning point in life of LGBTIQ persons, exercise of some basic rights and improvement of the quality of life. More broadly, adoption of this legal text would be a significant test passed by the MPs of the Parliament of Montenegro, which would show that they are aware of the significance of the indivisibility of human rights. Unfortunately, this did not happen. Even more worrying is the fact that the rights of LGBTIQ persons in Montenegro are victims of another political-party calculation, despite indications that Montenegrin society has made progress in acceptance and full recognition of LGBTIQ persons.
This Proposal of the Law that would make life easier for many LGBTIQ persons did not pass because of those who voted against, but also because of those who avoided voting for the third time, and each time with increasingly unconvincing explanation, as they contributed together to this outcome and demonstrated that particular and party interests are for them above human rights in Montenegro.
The CCE survey from the beginning of this year pointed to a positive shift in the perception of citizens towards LGBT rights. Namely, almost two-thirds of Montenegrin citizens (64%) stated that they would still vote for political party which would decide to have the rights of LGBT persons in their programme, while 57% said that nothing would change towards the political figures if they found out that they are homosexual. Finally, when asked about the Law on Life Partnership of Same-Sex Persons – more than half of citizens (55%) said that have positive or very positive attitude.
Political parties and independent MPs who participate in the work of the Parliament but did not vote or avoided voting for this legal text have no justification for this action which deserves condemnation. There is a certain degree which human rights activists and civil society organizations can reach in the fight for the rights of marginalized groups. Today, we are witnessing that above the actions and struggle for human rights firmly stands particular interests of parties and individuals alienated from citizens, including those who swear by European standards and claim that human rights are their focus.
The CCE will continue to support the efforts of the LGBTIQ community to exercise their rights, but also to strive for further democratization and Europeanization of Montenegrin society, in which will be less and less space for political human rights trade.
Zeljka Cetkovic, Programme Associate