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Poland: Civil Union Proposal Rejected

(Feb. 1, 2013) On January 25, 2013, Poland’s legislature (the Seim) rejected three bills that, had they been adopted, would have given some legal rights to same-sex couples, as well as to unmarried opposite-sex couples. The proposals would have created the possibility of civil unions, which would have been officially registered as legal entities. The partners in civil unions would have had the ability to inherit property without paying taxes and to access private information now made available only to partners in marriages. (Benjamin Minegar, Poland Lawmakers Reject Proposed Civil Union Legislation, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (Jan. 25, 2013).)

The status of same-sex couples has been controversial in Poland, with the liberal political groups, including the Palikot Movement political party, supporting the extension of equal rights to such couples as a matter of fairness, and conservative groups opposing any legislation giving rights to gay couples, seeing them as attacks on traditional values of family stability and procreation. (Id.)

A November 28, 2012, Polish Supreme Court decision did give a surviving partner of a same-sex couple sharing rental quarters the same rights as other partners to take over a lease, should the partner whose name was on the lease pass away. The case was initially brought by a man in Warsaw who successfully argued that because he had been living with the tenant in a partnership for nine years, he should have the right to retain the lease. (Keith Herting, Poland Supreme Court Recognizes Same-Sex Relationships for Tenancy Retention, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (Nov. 30, 2012); Sad Najwyzszy: Homoseksualny partner przejmuje po smierci partnera prawo do najmumieszkania [Supreme Court: Homosexual Partner Takes over the Right to Lease a Flat After the Death of a Partner], GAZETA PRAWNA.PL (Nov. 28, 2012).)