Incumbent MPs Deny the Prospect of Same-Sex Partnership Legislation in Lithuania

Gediminas Kirkilas, long-time member of the Lithuanian Parliament, head of the ruling Social Democrat and Labour Party said  that “there are more and more people who live out of wedlock, have children, and, in case of separation, mostly women suffer <…>. All other partnerships, as you can imagine, would not really get through current Parliament, we always look at it realistically”.

According to the new legislative proposal, registered by Gediminas Kirkilas, Juozas Bernatonis and Irena Šiaulienė of the previously mentioned party, partnership would be legally defined as “the cohabitation of a man and a woman (partners) in a non-marital family relationship based on a constant emotional attachment, mutual understanding, responsibility, respect, joint parenting and similar relationships and a voluntary commitment to assume certain rights and responsibilities”.

While there were recent developments in the neighbouring Latvia where Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee reviewed the most recent civil society initiative on the registration for same-sex partnerships, allowing for further discussion in the future sessions, Lithuania and Greece, out of the 19 States having some form of registered partnership alternative to marriage, remain the only EU Member States reserving it exclusively to different-sex couples, thus continuing to subject same-sex families to legal uncertainty and its negative effects.

Newcomer liberal political player Freedom Party, however, promises marriage equality to its potential electorate, while both Social Democrats and Liberal Movement have a more moderate and calculated approach of including same-sex civil partnership legislation in its electoral agenda.

In its decision of January 11, 2019, Lithuanian Constitutional Court stated that Paragraph 3 of Article 38 of the Constitution consolidates the constitutional concept of marriage concluded by free mutual consent of a man and a woman while also noting that unlike the constitutional concept of marriage, the constitutional concept of the family, among other things, is neutral in terms of gender and Constitution protects and defends all families that meet the constitutional concept of the family, which is based on the contents of permanent or long-lasting relationships between family members, i.e. reciprocal understanding and responsibility, emotional affection, help and similar bonds, as well as on the voluntary determination to take on certain rights and duties.

According to the Eurobarometer on Discrimination 493 (2019), 30% of Lithuanian respondents agree with the notion that same sex marriages should be allowed throughout Europe.