Couple sue to marry in country where even PM can not

serbia same-sex marriage Jelena Dubovi Suncica Kopunovi

Jelena Dubovi and Suncica Kopunovic commenced a legal battle Thursday for legal recognition of their partnership in Serbia. The socially conservative country bans same-sex marriage.

The two women attempted to register a civil union in their home town in April.

However the registrar’s office in Novi Sad turned them away.

The Serbian constitution explicitly defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The country also does not recognise civil unions.

Serbia’s lesbian prime minister

Despite that, the country’s prime minister is an openly gay woman.

PM Ana Brnabić ‘s partner gave birth to a baby boy earlier this year.

same-sex marriage serbia Jelena Dubovi Suncica Kopunovic
Ana Brnabić

Although the then newly installed lesbian prime minister marched in Belgrade Pride in 2017, she refused on that occasion, and since, to be drawn on the subject of same-sex marriage.

“I can’t give you my personal opinion right now because I’m here as the prime minister representing the Serbian government.”

Jelena Dubovi and Suncica Kopunovic

After meeting four years ago, Jelena and Suncica became engaged in 2016.

The two women understand the opposition they will meet in Serbia, a country renowned for homophobia

Jelena told Reuters the couple were unafraid despite the animosity they knew they would encounter.

“As not many same-sex couples in Serbia are willing to step out, we decided to stand for all of us and try to fight and aim to win.”

Jelena said, “We are not afraid…

“We got sick of hiding who we are, because that is actually nothing bad.

“We just love each other, which is absolutely a normal thing.”

With the support of the Equal Rights Trust the couple hired a litigator to take their case to the Serbian Commissioner for Equality, followed by an appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Their lawyer suggests the case may end up in the European Court of Human Right after up to five years of legal wrangling.

Jelena said, “We are absolutely not asking for anything much.

“We are just asking to be equal human beings just as heterosexual couples are.

“It would mean a normal and a proper life.”

The women declared hey were unhappy with the current limited freedoms offered LGBTIQ people in Serbia.

“We want more than the right to march in a parade once a year.”

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