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Gay Rights Victory In Poland


The European Court of Human Rights determined a municipality in Poland committed a human rights violation when it denied Piotr Kozak's petition to inherit his partner's tenancy agreement after the partner's death, the Financial Times reports.

The court acknowledged Poland's constitutional amendment designating marriage as a union between an man and woman, but wrote that the state "must necessarily take into account developments in society and changes in the perception of social, civil-status and relational issues, including the fact that there is not just one way or one choice in the sphere of leading and living one's family or private life."

"This is a very important case because it shows a certain inequality before the law," said Yga Kostrzewa, spokeswoman for Lambda Warsaw, a gay rights group. "There will certainly be many more cases like this because there are a lot of laws and regulations that do not treat people equally."

Kozak lived with his partner in the apartment for almost nine years. Following his partner's death, Kozak's application to succeed his partner as the tenant of the apartment was denied because the municipality claimed Kozak had not lived there for several years.

Kozak claimed he was away for work and argued he had a right to live there because the two had a "de facto marital cohabitation."

The decision came about after Kozak's argument that the government violated article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination, and article 8, which protects the right to respect for one's private and family life.

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