Strasbourg Court Ruling on Same-Sex Unions Relevant for Lithuania, Legal Experts Say

The new judgement by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on legal recognition of same-sex relationships is significant for Lithuania, says a lawyer of the Vilnius-based Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI).

Natalija Bitiukova, i.e the deputy director of HRMI, emphasized the significance of the court’s ruling handed down on July 21st, 2015, which indicated that Italy violated the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) by failing to provide any type of legal recognition for same-sex couples. “This is the start of a new practice at the Strasbourg court, an analogous decision did not exist yet. This was the first time when the court deliberted about a state’s positive obligation to regulate relations of same-sex couples, and the Court said that the best form for Italy would be a registered partnership. As a matter of fact, the finding is highly important for Lithuania, especially in the light of strong public discussions on the matter,” said Ms. Bitiukova.

At the moment, a partnership bill, drafted by the Ministry of Justice, is making its way through parliamentary procedure. If adopted, the law would only recognize unions of different-sex couples only. In June, 2015 the Minister of Justice publicly claimed that same-sex couples are “propaganda”.