Lithuanian Conservative Party Proposes Referendum Idea for Same-Sex Partnerships

On October 19th, 2015 the MP and one of the leaders of the Lithuanian conservative party “Homeland Union” Vilija Aleknaitė-Abramikienė in the course of an interview to the radio station “Žinių radijas” regarding the possible legislation on civil partnerships claimed that “based on the current legal situation, we have to propose a public referendum on this matter”. The politician also admitted that the bill on registered partnerships for different-sex couples was blocked upon initiative by her party colleagues, because introduction of the registered partnership scheme would imply the legal recognition of same-sex relationships according the international human rights standards.

In the course of her interview, Ms. Aleknaitė-Abramikienė was implicitly referring to the jurisprudence by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in cases Vallianatos v. Greece and Oliari and Others v. Itlay. “The Strasbourg human rights court now forces the states, which have introduced registered partnerships for different-sex couples, to legislate on partnerships for same sex couples,” – elaborated the politician. She further extended that if the legislation on registered partnerships automatically means equal rights for the Lithuanian citizens irrespective of their sexual orientation, a public referendum should be organized on this matter, because “we do not have the right to decide for the nation.”

Ms. Aleknaitė-Abramikienė is well known for her openly homophobic views. On numerous occasions she attacked the local LGBT* groups as purposely slandering the Lithuanian society as intolerant in order to accumulate additional funds. In 2014 she called equality and equal opportunities as “destructive invasion of human nature”. Vilija Aleknaitė-Abramikienė has been elected as the member of the national Parliament for five tenures since 1992. At the moment she also serves the Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

The Lithuanian general elections will take place in October, 2016. The idea of introducing a public referendum on same-sex partnerships might be interpreted within the framework of the upcoming electoral campaign. The similar attempt miserably failed in Slovakia earlier this year, when less than 20 % of voters turned up to vote for the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. According to the latest opinion polls in Lithuania, the Homeland Union is the third most popular political party in the country with 11,2 % of general support.

The National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL expresses its grave concern about the idea of submitting the idea of registered same-sex partnerships to the public referendum. “According to the latest Eurobarometer 437 survey, Lithuania remains to be the most homophobic and transphobic society in the European Union (EU). The constitutional rights of the minority should not be dependent upon the majoritarian preferences. We are very sad to see that some politicians and political parties use homophobia as a tool for electoral mobilization,” – stated the LGL’s Executive Director Vladimir Simonko.