Lithuanian MPs Registered a Proposal to Legislate Gender Neutral Partnerships

Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Aušrinė Armonaitė and Simonas Gentvilas, members of the Liberal Movement Party and the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, have registered a proposal to amend the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania, aiming to recognize the legal status of both different-sex and same-sex couples.

“A couple of reasons encouraged us to propose these changes. First of all, the ability to enter into partnership was already established in the Civil Code in 2001, but after a heated debate about the expediency of the institute of partnership the legal gap was left and, in spite of several attempts to fix it, the situation remained unsolved,” explained MP Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen during a press conference held in the Lithuanian Parliament.

The parliamentarian is certain that since 2001 the lack of political will prevented the Lithuanian Parliament to adopt legislation regulating partnerships. Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen believes that this legal gap must be filled as it is related both to human rights and legal issues.

According to the politician, there are around 100 thousand unmarried couples and one out of three children are born for parents who are not married. “In our opinion, the state should not ignore and discriminate a large part of its citizens who lead a family life with their partners,” explained Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen.

According to the representatives of the Liberal Movement party in the Lithuanian Parliament, newly registered amendments of the Civil Code would guarantee the same rights to both different-sex and same-sex couples.

Aušrinė Armonaitė, member of the Lithuanian Parliament, stressed that proposed amendments would ensure that all couples would be equal before the law. “We want to establish equality before the law. It means that both different-sex and same-sex couples would have an opportunity to formalize their relationships,” commented MP.

The politicians were adamant that legalizing partnerships would not worsen anyone’s situation and would improve the situation of thousands of couples. The liberal MPs propose that couples could enter into partnership by signing a partnership agreement at a notary. The initiators of the amendment of the Civil Code also propose that the legal status of partnership would be automatically recognized after the couple would have lived together for more than one year.

The representatives of the Liberal Movement in the Lithuanian Parliament explained that the amendment was prepared in collaboration with lawyers, human rights experts, representatives from nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders. Collection of signatures to support the proposal in the Parliament has started on 22 May, 2017.

In March, 2015, nine MPs from the Liberal Movement and the Social Democratic Party registered a bill proposing gender neutral registered partnership scheme, but it did not receive enough support in the Lithuanian Parliament. However, V. Čmilytė-Nielsen says that this project is different from the ones before and she expects stronger support.

“Opportunities to adopt this proposal are realistic and we are optimistic. We know that part of MPs from various political groups will support it,” explained the politician.