Four Homophobic Legislative Initiatives on Lithuanian Parliament’s Autumn Agenda

Returning to the 3rd regular session Lithuanian Parliament preparing is preparing to debate on four legislative amendments and legislative initiatives that would restrict LGBT rights. Even though a certain progress may be observed, as legislative initiatives clearly infringing upon freedoms of association and expression have not been registered, the proposed amendment to the Constitution, Law on Strengthening the Family, Child Rights Protection legislative initiatives and amendments to Civil Code are ought to redefine the concept of the family, eliminating any possibility for same-sex couples to exercise the right to family.

The infamous amendment (XIIP-1217) to Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania stating that “family is the foundation of society and the state” and is constituted by the marriage of a man and woman remains on Parliaments agenda. 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.

The legislative initiative – the Law on Strengthening the Family No. XIIP-4255 and XIIP-4256 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. In addition the registered amendments (XIIP-472; XIIP-473) proposing to further entrench these views by stipulating legal regulations of family relations that are supplemented with the principle of “maternal and paternal mutual complementarity.”

Parliamentarians will continue debating amendments to the Civil Code put forward by the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union Political Group that seek to regulate partnerships by way of cohabitation agreement. On 30th May, 2017 Seimas 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. The alternative proposal that would amend the Civil Code to recognize a gender-neutral partnerships registered by the Liberal Movement Political Group was voted down in the plenary sitting on 15th June.  

The National LGBT rights organization LGL is deeply concerned with these legislative initiatives that set out to restrict rights of LGBT people in Lithuania. Association LGL is calling upon the members of Seimas to take action to prevent discriminatory legislative initiatives and afford respect and equal rights to all the citizens irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.