Five Homophobic Bills Listed in Lithuanian Parliament’s Autumn Agenda

On September 14th the Lithuanian Parliament adopted its autumn agenda, preparing to debate on five legislative amendments and legislative initiatives that seek to restrict and openly violate LGBT rights as well as the international commitments to uphold freedom of expression and to fight discrimination.

First, there is the infamous Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania stating that “family is the foundation of society and the state” and is formed by the marriage of a man and woman. It should be noted that on June 28th, 2016 the Lithuanian Parliament voted in favor of the constitutional amendment. In order for it to be adopted, the Lithuanian Parliament will have to vote in favor of the amendment twice, securing the majority of 94 votes in favor on both occasions. There has to be at least three (3) months break between the two votes.

Another legislative initiative proposes the amendment to the Law on the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child (No. XIIP-1469(2) ) seeks to establish that “it is forbidden for same sex couples to adopt citizens of the Republic of Lithuania.”

The third legislative initiative – The Law on Strengthening the Family No. XIIP 4255 seeks to establish that “complementarity of a man and a woman is a foundation of a family as primary and fundamental community and environment which is the most suitable for bringing up, development and education of a child”. By restrictively interpreting the constitutional concept of “family life”, the law deliberately seeks to remove the possibility of applying the constitutional protections awarded to the concept of “family life” for same-sex couples. MP J. Dagys has also registered amendments to the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania (XIIP-472; XIIP-473), thereby seeking to further entrench these views. Furthermore, the legal regulations of family relations would be supplemented with the principle of “maternal and paternal mutual complementarity.”

And finally the changes to Civil Code (XIIP-17), that would aim to ban medical gender reassignment procedures in Lithuania and to legitimize the vicious practice of requiring individuals who received treatment abroad to go to court in order to change their personal documents. Despite Lithuania having lost the case against L. in the European Court of Human Rights, the state is not hurrying to implement measures necessary for the protection of transgender rights, but choses a backward tactics to eliminate the very opportunity to do so.

Although these and similar legislative proposals are fortunately not always accepted, and are often delayed or rejected. The mere introduction of such initiatives onto Parliaments agenda contributes to the promotion of a hostile social environment for many people in Lithuania. The national LGBT* rights organization LGL seeks to start a dialogue with the Parliament’s leadership to discuss the hardships and legal situation of LGBT* people in Lithuania. However, parliamentary leadership has not yet responded to this invitation to collaborate.