When passed in July last year, the Law on Life Partnership of Persons of the Same Sex delighted many, especially couples from the LGBTQ community, who finally hoped they could say that fateful “YES” publicly and in front of witnesses. In addition to being a confirmation of their love, concluding a life partnership would also lead to solving accumulated administrative problems.

“These are the same technicalities that we encounter almost daily. We are not recognized as partners who could take a loan together in order to get a roof over our heads, nor as partners who would be allowed to visit their boyfriend or girlfriend in the hospital. As before, we manage to somehow find solutions, but after so many years, it gets a bit annoying, that incessant search for shortcuts and detours, and on paper the road ahead looks straight,” states our interlocutor (name known to the EU Info Centre), who wants to enter into a life partnership with her girlfriend, with whom she has been in a relationship for 8 years.

The Law, as defined at the time of its adoption, should start to be applied on July 15 of this year. However, as things stand now, there is little chance that same-sex couples will have the opportunity to stand before the registrar this summer. The president of the organization Queer Montenegro, Mr Danijel Kalezić, in an interview for the EU Info Centre, explains that the adoption of the Law was only the first step, after which the Government did not go much further. In order for the implementation of the Law to begin, it is necessary to amend as many as 26 related laws and bylaws.

“At this moment, there are justified fears that the application of the Law will not be able to start within the planned deadline.” Taking into account the current situation, we once again call on the Prime Minister to speed up this process and would like to remind him once again of the initiative to use his authority to enhance coordination of this process at the Government level. The current process, we are convinced, can run much faster and we believe that it is still possible to finish everything on time”, says Danijel.

Queer Montenegro, in partnership with the NGO Juventas and the association Spektra, with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, conducted an analysis of the normative framework, in which they proposed the needed amendments to all relevant laws, thus, as Daniel emphasizes, greatly facilitating the Government’s work.

“We hope that the political will of the Government and the majority in the Parliament of Montenegro will not be an obstacle to creating conditions for the implementation of the Law on Life Partnership of Persons of the Same Sex and that the implementation will be possible starting July 15 of this year.” If that does not happen, it is quite certain that in that scenario the state of Montenegro would face lawsuits from all the people who would not be able to exercise their basic human rights,” said Daniel.

The LGBTQ community today marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). They would like to cross the application of this Law from the list of things that need to be fought for.

“Our message for today is that life is beautiful and that we do not see reasons to make it complicated. If we have a road that we should be able to use, why should we be forced to take detours? Although it might be true that using detours will also teach you some lessons, it would be right if this Law gets to be implemented as intended, instead of remaining a dead letter,” says our first interlocutor from the beginning of this story.

The Law on Life Partnership of Persons of the Same Sex stipulates that LGBT persons can form a same-sex union, inherit assets from each other, have common property, the right to pension and social security, hospital visits, the right to care for their children together, but also the obligation to care for to their partner’s child, if the child has no close relatives. The Law also provides that the partner of a gay person who has a child is given the right to make a decision on behalf of the child in urgent cases when the child is in imminent danger. The initial draft version of the Law, on the basis of which the working group drafted the final draft, was written within the EU project “Contribution to Improving the Quality of Life of LGBT Persons in Montenegro” 2016-2017.