On 15th June, 2017 the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania voted down a proposal by liberal MPs to amend the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania, aiming to recognize the legal status of both different-sex and same-sex couples. 29 members of the Lithuanian Parliament voted in favor of the proposal, 59 voted against, 20 abstained.
The proposal to legislate on gender neutral partnerships was supported by 8 members of the Liberal Movement Political Group, 9 members of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Political Group, 3 non-affiliated members and 9 members of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political Group.
The list of MPs in support of the proposal is as follows: Virgilijus Alekna, Aušrinė Armonaitė, Linas Balsys, Juozas Bernatonis, Rasa Budbergytė, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Vitalijus Gailius, Arūnas Gelūnas, Simonas Gentvilas, Eugenijus Gentvilas, Vytautas Kernagis, Gediminas Kirkilas, Gabrielius Landsbergis, Andrius Kubilius, Tadas Langaitis, Mykolas Majauskas, Aušra Maldeikienė, Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė, Monika Navickienė, Juozas Olekas, Julius Sabatauskas, Algirdas Sysas, Algimantas Salamakinas, Gintarė Skaistė, Gintaras Steponavičius, Dovilė Šakalienė, Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė, Irena Šiaulienė, Ingrida Šimonytė.
“Recognition of the legal status of both different-sex and same-sex couples would send a clear signal that we are a modern Western country and we do not classify our citizens. We need to respect the dignity of Lithuanian citizens and acknowledge with their legitimate expectations,” stressed MP Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen during the hearing at the Lithuanian Parliament.
The Liberal Movement Party of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania registered the proposal to amend the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania in May, 2017. Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Aušrinė Armonaitė and Simonas Gentvilas, the liberal MPs, proposed that couples could enter into partnership by signing a partnership agreement at a notary. The initiators of the amendment to the Civil Code also proposed that the legal status of partnership would be automatically recognized after the couple would have lived together for more than one year.
„We consider this vote as a victory. Despite the fact that the overall proposal was rejected, the support for same-sex families is slowly gaining its momentum in the Lithuanian Parliament. We continue to work with the aim that same-sex families are legally recognized in Lithuania,“ commented the LGL‘s Executive Director Vladimir Simonko.
In May, 2017 the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union Political Group of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania together with other members of the Lithuanian Parliament registered an alternative proposal to amend the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania proposing to regulate partnerships by way of cohabitation agreement. On 30th May, 2017 the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania voted in favor of this proposal. The authors of the amendment to the Civil Code propose a term “agreement for cohabitation” that would allow two or more cohabitants to realize certain property rights without an intention to create family relations. With 46 in favor, 6 opposing and 17 abstentions, the draft proposal has been approved for further consideration in the Lithuanian Parliament. LGL believes that this alternative proposal falls short behind the legitimate expectations by the same-sex couples in Lithuania, because it prevents same-sex partners from being legally recognized as family members.