Deputy explains the concept of marriage in Constitution
A deputy of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, Anatoly Dashko, tells us why – in his opinion – the concept of marriage as a union of a man and a woman needs clarification: ‘by passport’
While working over the draft, Belarusians, including my voters, were actively sharing their opinions and making initiatives on dialogue platforms. All of them have been collected, summarised and submitted to the Constitutional Commission.
Among the important points voiced during the preparation of the draft Constitution was the designation of the concept of marriage as a union of a woman and a man. Some public organisations and representatives of the main Christian denominations insisted and continue insisting on introducing a clarification: a man and a woman by birth. True, some of my voters share this point of view. However, in my opinion, there may be another clarification: not by birth but by passport.
Article 32 of the draft Constitution outlines the norm of marriage as a union of a woman and a man. This norm aims to protect the traditional family, motherhood, and fatherhood. As an obstetrician-gynaecologist and the chief physician of the Brest Regional Maternity Hospital in 2008-2016, I’m aware of a true role of the traditional family: the guardian of spiritual and moral values.
As a doctor, I express an opinion that it is possible to clarify the definition of marriage in the Basic Law as a union of a woman and a man by passport. Why? In Belarus, as in other countries, there are people who have different biological and gender identity. In our country, on the basis of the Law on Healthcare, gender reassignment surgeries are performed, with further changes in passports. Four or five surgeries of the kind are annually performed at Minsk’s Regional Clinical Hospital. Over thirty years, about a hundred people have brought their gender roles and their bodies in line with their inner self-perception – with help of plastic surgery and hormone therapy. The first patient married a woman and created a family around a year after his operation. The law does not prohibit this. At the same time, on the basis of the current legislation, a change in gender by a married person contradicts the legal, moral and ethical norms and is viewed as a basis for termination of marriage.
I would like to note that gender reassignment surgeries and subsequent passport changes are not performed simply on the basis of a desire of a man or a woman. After a comprehensive medical and psychological examination of a person, the decision on the need to change their gender identity is issued by an interdepartmental commission on medical, psychological and social rehabilitation of persons with sex denial syndrome. It consists of leading scientists and specialists from the Healthcare Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Justice Ministry, and the Education Ministry.