LGBT

Same Saxe Partnership and Gender Recognition for Albania

Thursday, December 05, 2013
Representatives of Council of Europe, Albanian’s Ombudsman, Government, opposition and LGBT organizations were present yesterday in a conference in Tirana to present two main legislation initiatives.
 
The first one has to do with the amendment of the Family Code in order to make the civil partnerships more inclusive and legalize the same sex partnerships. The second initiative is a draft law presented today for gender recognition in Albania.
 
These two initiatives were drafted in close collaboration between the above mentioned actors and institutions by Prof. Arta Mandro and Prof. Aurela Anastasi as two of the most distinguished and honored experts on the Albanian Constitution and legislation, hired from the CoE.
 
This project is a result of the help that CoE is giving to Albania to implement the recommendations of CoE in the framework of the European Convention of Human Rights.
 
The first proposal, the one for same sex partnerships will enter into the government and the Parliament’s agenda within 2014. The path for the second one is not yet clear.
 
But what do these drafts proposal suggest?
 
There are only two articles about partnerships in the Albanian Family Code. The first article (Article 163) defines this relationship as a union between a man and a woman. The proposal suggests defining it as a union between two people.
 
The second article, Article 164 delegates the responsibility to legalize the partnership to a notary. The couple can go in front of him or her and sign all the details. The proposal presented today suggests replacing this article with another one stating simply that “the partnerships should be regulated through a special and entire new law”.
 
Practically this opens the way and obliges the Parliament to finally have a complete partnership law for the entire population, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The statistics show that few couples go to the notary but most of them want to live in a partnership rather than in a marriage. 
 
The second proposal for gender recognition is based on the Argentinean model. The experts studied the entire legislation of Albania and they came to the conclusion that introducing a gender recognition law is based on the general spirit of the Albanian legislation that consider the gender as an element that can be changed, as can be changed the name for instance.
 
But there is no clear procedure to do that. The new gender recognition law should, in this case, be a normal step to follow in order to complete the vision of the Albanian law.
 
Albana Vokshi, an MP from the right wings opposition was present and supported this initiative. The vice minister of Social Welfare Bardhylka Kospiri was also present and clearly expressed the full support of the government (left wings) the legalization of same sex partnerships.
 
Next year this ministry will introduce the draft proposal to the government and after that to the Parliament. To change the Family Code in order to define the partnerships there is a need of the 2/3 of the votes in the Parliament. Actually the majority of the Socialist Party and its allies in the Parliament have that 2/3 of the votes in an unprecedented example of Parliamentary life in the country.
 
Both the new Prime Minister Edi Rama and his main ally, the Speaker of the Parliament have publicly supported the LGBT movement in Albania late this summer after they both met with LGBT representatives. This kind of support was expressed also by the ex Prime Minister Sali Berisha, so in theory at least there should not be any obstacle.    
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