On November 25th, 2015 the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania held a hearing on a proposal to amend the Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, which states that “family emanates from a marriage between a man and a woman”. The participants of the hearing, however, supported two opposing concepts of family life.
Vygantas Malinauskas, a representative of the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference, voiced a position of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. According to the lawyer, only people who have „officially declared to society about their intention to get married“ have the right for recognition of their familial relations. A representative of the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference was convinced that „natural familial relations“ may also „arise from maternity and paternity“. „The main question is whether it is fair to recognize the family status for those who live together, but have not agreed to create legal family relations. At this point the answer is clear – if people live together, but they do not intend to formalize their family relationships, the family status should not be imposed upon them. How do we know, whether people are determined to create legal family relationships? It is possible only when they declare it publicly,” maintained Mr. Malinauskas.
While presenting the Government‘s position, the representatives of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania stressed that the proposed amendment is „unnecessary and discriminatory”. “Life is changing and people are becoming more tolerant to each other. We need to carefully analyze such proposals in order to foster non-discrimination and equal opportunities,” urged Algirdas Šešelgis, the Vice-Minister of Social Security and Labour.
Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, the Policy Coordinator (Human Rights) of the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL, stressed the discriminative nature of the proposed amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. „Our organization welcomes the commitment to strengthen the institution of family in Lithuania. We believe that family is the foundation of our State. On the other hand, we would like to point out that currently the Lithuanian legal system does not recognize the family relationships of same-sex couples, i.e. neither same-sex marriage nor civil same-sex partnership is available in Lithuania. We think that such proposal clearly discriminates against same-sex families living in Lithuania,“ emphasized the Policy Coordinator (Human Rights) of LGL.
A proposal, put forward by the MP Rimantas Jonas Dagys from the Homeland Union, to amend the Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, which states that “family is the foundation of society and the state” and is formed by the marriage of a man and woman, thus limiting the constitutional concept of “family life” exclusively for married couples was first put to vote in the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania in December, 2013. In September, 2015 the discriminative initiative reappeared in the autumn work agenda of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.
Read more about all homophobic and transphobic initiatives to be considered at the autumn session of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.