Kosovo’s parliament rejects new law recognising same-sex civil unions

Kosovo’s parliament has rejected a new law that would allow same-sex couples to form civil partnerships.

Just 28 out of 120 MPs voted in favour of the bill proposed by the government of left-wing Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

Kosovo’s government had been hoping to become the first Muslim-majority country to recognise same-sex unions.

The proposed bill was also part of wide-ranging reforms of Kosovo’s civil code, supported by the European Union.

PM Kurti had urged MPs to pass the bill because “rights belong to us, they belong to everyone”.

But after heated debate, several MPs — including lawmakers from Kurti’s Vetevendosje — voted against the legislation.

“Only opposite-sex marriage [is] acceptable,” said Labinote Demi Murtezi, “any connection beyond this combination is considered depravity and moral degeneration.”

Earlier this month, the EU delegation in Pristina had urged the Kosovar parliament to adopt a reform of same-sex unions, as well as other laws on minority rights and business.

“Failure to adopt the civil code will have serious negative repercussions on many aspects of the lives of Kosovo’s citizens and businesses, as well as on Kosovo’s economic development,” the delegation warned in a statement.

Kosovo’s independence has so far been recognised by about 100 countries, including the United States and most EU countries, but not by Serbia.