Lithuania’s Minister of Justice: “Civil Partnership will not be considered as long as I’m the Minister”

The Minister of Justice of Lithuania Juozas Bernatonis (Social Democratic Party) claimed that Lithuania will not follow the example of neighboring Estonia. According to Mr Bernatonis, civil partnership will not be legalized in Lithuania as long as he will be in charge of the Ministry of Justice.

“I would say that this is an extremely rare phenomenon and the statistics prove that. First of all, we have to regulate the most important things. I think that civil partnership will not be considered as long as I am the minister. Honestly, I do not see a big issue concerning this matter,” – insisted Lithuania’s Minister of Justice in a TV interview on November 21, 2014.

The Executive Director of LGL Vladimir Simonko however stressed the legal and financial discrimination LGBT* people face in Lithuania: “A person who receives a valuable gift from his partner must declare it to the tax authorities and pay taxes. This procedure does not apply to those living in heterosexual marriage.”

“Therefore, same sex couples are required to pay additional taxes to the state because they do not have a right to make a civil partnership,” – argued Mr Simonko.

On October 9, 2014 Estonian parliament passed the gender-neutral Civil Partnership Act, which grants same-sex couples rights and responsibilities similar to a marriage between heterosexual couples.

In May 2014 the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė declared that a public debate on same-sex partnership in Lithuania is “highly premature”.