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This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in LITHUANIA...
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 05/07/2012
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On 26 June the Parliament rejected the proposal of a legislative amendment which sought to establish harsh fines for the “organization of events contradicting social morality”. The proposal authored by MP Petras Grazulis was registered immediately after European Parliament passed a resolution condemning homophobic laws and discrimination in Europe. 9 votes were in favour and 29 against.

The amendment sought to introduce a new Article 188(21) in the Administrative Code entitled “Denigration of constitutional moral values”, stating that “the public denigration of constitutional moral values and the principles of family stipulated in the Constitution and the organization of events contradicting social morality” should be a subject to a penalty from 1000 to 3000 LTL. The proposal was a new version of the amendments submitted by Mr. Gražulis repetitively and aiming at criminalization of a very wide variety of actions and activities e.g. campaigning on human rights issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, providing sexual health information to LGBT individuals, organization of LGBT film festivals, Pride events etc.

LGL, protesting the proposals to ban freedom of expression and assembly for LGBT people, held a public action with waiving a 30 metres long rainbow flag near the Parliament on May 18th. In July 2013 Vilnius will be host for Baltic Pride march for LGBT equality.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 02/05/2012 +0
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Rainbow Days 2012 – Increasing public dialogue on LGBT rights

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) will be marked in Lithuania by a week-long celebration of Rainbow Days, organised by the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL).

Rainbow Days will be opened at a press conference at Seimas on 16 May hosted by Member of Parliament Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė, with speakers including Ambassador of the Netherlands Kornelis Spaans and John Finkbeiner, Political-Economic Chief at the Embassy of the United States.

Activities throughout the week (15–22 May) will include seminars, cinema screenings and ‘tolerance lessons’ given by LGL volunteers at the LGBT Centre in Vilnius, where participants will have the opportunity to question stereotypes and meet and talk with people who are often discriminated against and excluded from society.

A 30-metre rainbow flag will be unfolded in Vilnius as a public action, highlighting the importance of solidarity, unity and support. Rainbow Days will close with a celebration “Rainbow Café for All” featuring various Lithuanian DJs and performers.

Events will be held in both Vilnius and Kaunas. Rainbow Days will be organised in Lithuania now for the second time, with the intention of establishing the event as an annual tradition. Rainbow Days are supported by the PROGRESS programme under the European Commission, Open Society Foundations and Amnesty International.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 23/04/2012 +5
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US Ambassador to Lithuania highlights LGBT-friendly policy

In a recent interview given to Lithuanian news portal 15min.lt, United States Ambassador to Lithuania Anne E. Derse discussed among other things LGBT rights in the US and in Lithuania.

She talked about the current US administration’s commitment to LGBT rights, stressing that it is a core part of the US foreign policy to promote human rights also in countries with which it has relationships: “Secretary Clinton gave a speech on December 6 where she stated very clearly that we believe LGBT rights are human rights. We believe that LGBT people have the same right as everyone else to live in safety, in security, exercise all of their human rights to not be discriminated against.”

Answering a question on whether legal partnership is part of these rights, the Ambassador stated that every country has to decide for itself on these social questions, adding however that gay people have a right like everyone else to exercise their fundamental human rights, which is a fact that no-one should question.

“Secretary Clinton, in her speech on December 6, said that when you don't understand something, when it's different and strange and maybe considered alien to traditional values, it's scary, it's frightening. But in fact homosexuality is a human reality, she said, and it exists in every country in the world. And we're talking about real people, we're talking about kids in high school who might be discovering that they're homosexual. How do they feel? Are they bullied, do they feel isolated and alone? We know in the United States that there have been hate crimes, kids have died, or committed suicide, because they feel alienated. That's simply wrong. We know how parents feel when they discover that maybe they have a homosexual child. These are real human situations. This is the reality, it's not some, excuse me for using this term, ancient Soviet notion of scary.”

The Ambassador talked about debates on these issues in the US, mentioning as an example the military’s recently repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, which has proved to work despite a great deal of initial concern.

The Ambassador said she is following homophobic legislative proposals pending in the Lithuanian Parliament and that her embassy in line with the Secretary of State’s policy will work against any attempts to criminalize homosexuality, working with partners in government, in media and in NGOs.

According to the Ambassador, this year’s Freedom March organised in Vilnius to celebrate Lithuanian independence day is a positive development: “The US condemns manifestations of antisemitism or homophobia or xenophobia everywhere in the world and we applaud when people celebrate freedom and democracy.”
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 20/03/2012
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Statement on LGBT rights read in Lithuania’s UPR session

In the final session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Lithuania, held in Geneva on 16 March, a statement prepared by LGL together with COC Netherlands and ILGA-Europe was read. The statement is below and can also be watched here.

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Madam Vice-President,

We would like to thank Lithuania for its positive participation in the UPR process and would like to commend Lithuania for accepting recommendations to combat discrimination against LGBT people, ensure the full respect for freedom of expression and assembly for all, and prevent and prosecute all forms of violence and harassment related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

We want to draw the Lithuanian Government’s attention to the case L v Lithuania, which Lithuania lost in the European Court of Human Rights in 2007. The ruling obliges Lithuania to pass a law regulating the procedure and conditions of gender reassignment, which Lithuania has subsequently ignored. Further, members of parliament last March registered a proposal to amend the Civil Code with a prohibition of gender reassignment surgery. We urge the Lithuanian Government to act in conformity with the commitments made during the UPR process and rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, which entail the responsibility to ensure that transgender people have access to reassignment surgeries.

In response to the recommendation on recognition of family diversity, the government stated that active discussion on the concept of family is ongoing, but it is not foreseen to equalize the rights of same sex and opposite sex couples. We are concerned about a proposed amendment to the Constitution defining the concept of family as based on a marriage between a man and a woman. We recommend that Lithuania ensures equal rights between same sex and opposite sex couples in its legislation and policies, for example by introducing the possibility of partnership registration.

Whilst the government states that there are no provisions in the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information which would allow discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, we remain concerned that the law could be used to restrict freedom of expression of LGBT people. The law in itself sends outs a message to society that contributes to stigma and discrimination of LGBT people.

We are concerned over legislative initiatives that are blatantly discriminatory and unlawfully restrict the right to freedom of expression of LGBT people. We urge the Lithuanian Government to engage in constructive dialogue with experts and NGOs regarding these issues to ensure that the human rights of LGBT people are fully upheld.

Thank you Madam Vice-President.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 20/03/2012
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Restrictions to LGBT rights on Lithuanian Parliament’s spring agenda

On 20 March 2012 the Lithuanian Parliament adopted its spring agenda, preparing to debate on three legislative amendments openly violating LGBT rights as well as the international commitments to uphold freedom of expression and to fight discrimination.

The first amendment submitted by Petras Gražulis and accepted by the parliamentarians for consideration is a new Article 214(30) in the Administrative Code entitled “Protection of constitutional moral values”. It states that “the public denigration of constitutional moral values and the principles of family stipulated in the Constitution and the organization of events contradicting social morality” should be a subject to a penalty from 1000 to 3000 LTL. If the actions mentioned above are committed repeatedly, the fine amounts to 3000 – 6000 LTL (870 – 1740 EUR). The proposal is a new version of the amendments submitted by Mr. Gražulis repetitively and aiming at criminalization of a very wide variety of actions and activities e.g. campaigning on human rights issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, providing sexual health information to LGBT individuals, organization of LGBT film festivals, Pride events etc.

The second proposal submitted by Antanas Matulas, Vida Marija Čigriejienė and Arimantas Dumčius is an amendment to the Civil Code aiming at the prohibition of gender reassignment surgery. At present, the Civil Code provides that an unmarried adult is entitled to undergo gender reassignment surgery if it is possible medically, while the conditions and procedure of gender reassignment are set by legislation. However, no such legislation has been passed. In 2007 Lithuania lost a case in the European Court of Human Rights concerning the right of a transsexual person to gender reassignment. The MPs who submitted the controversial legislative initiative stated that the amendment would protect Lithuania from any claims at the ECHR in the future.

Also on the agenda will be a draft amendment to the Constitution accepted by Parliament in December, stating that “the family is created by a free marriage agreement between a man and woman”. All amendments to the Constitution must be considered and approved by Parliament twice, with a three month break between each vote. The proposal will be adopted if 94 members of parliament vote in favour of the amendment at each vote session. Currently Article 38 of the Lithuanian Constitution states that family is the substance of society and the State, but there is no direct reference that family is created only through marriage.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual straight readers on 08/03/2012
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MPs rioting at gay march back to trial

The Court of First Instance will re-hear the case of Petras Gražulis and Kazimieras Uoka, the members of the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) who resisted police officers at the Baltic Pride march in Vilnius two years ago.

Having heard administrative law violation cases regarding the actions of Gražulis and Uoka at the Baltic Gay Pride march, a panel of judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania has decided to return the case to the Court of First Instance to rehear the request for administrative prosecution.

The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania heard the cases of the two members of the Seimas, Gražulis and Uoka, on the basis of administrative law violation protocols issued by police officers for crossing police barriers marked with “STOP POLICE” tape and not conforming to legitimate police demands during the Pride march in Vilnius, held by the White Bridge. Vilnius County Police Headquarters appealed the decision of the Court of First Instance to dismiss Uokas’s and Gražulis’s administrative law violation cases to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania.

The panel of judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania ruled that the Court of First Instance had provided a limited formal statement that the Prosecutor General had refused to initiate a pre-trial investigation regarding Gražulis and Uoka as he had not received an authorization of the competent authority to initiate criminal prosecution of the persons concerned.

The panel of judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania emphasized that the Court of First Instance was to cover the subject of initiating administrative prosecution of the members of the Seimas for one of the alleged acts that does not anticipate a penalty in the form of administrative detention. The panel of judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania stated that the Court of First Instance had applied and interpreted legal acts improperly and had not clarified all circumstances of the case, thus entering groundless judgements subject to revocation with the case being returned to the Court of First Instance for rehearing.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual straight readers on 05/03/2012
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Lithuanian parliamentary group backs European Parliament in condemning Russia’s LGBT censorship laws

The European Parliament took a stand against Russia’s LGBT censorship laws on February 16th by adopting a resolution denouncing laws which forbid the public mention of homosexuality or gender identity to minors. The resolution, presented by five political groups, reminds Russia that it is subject to human rights agreements. The text mentions the law approved by the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg banning so-called propaganda of “sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism and pedophilia to minors” and similar laws being proposed in other regions of Russia. Various MEPs as well as the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT rights have spoken against these laws.

The Intergroup also received a reaction from Lithuanian Member of Parliament Marija Pavilionienė, head of the parliamentary group ‘For Equality’, which was established as a reaction to the homophobic behaviour of some Lithuanian parliamentarians during Baltic Pride events in Vilnius in 2010. According to a letter sent by Pavilionienė to the Intergroup on LGBT rights on February 16th, the parliamentary group ‘For Equality’ shares the anxiety of MEPs who speak out against homophobic and transphobic censorship laws in Russia, and supports efforts to oppose censorship and violation of human rights of LGBT in Russia. The group underlines the necessity of modern states to respect the principals of human rights declarations and conventions, and is concerned that such bills threaten the freedom of expression and assembly and restrict public activity of the LGBT community in Russia.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual straight readers on 02/03/2012
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Lithuania ignores UN Human Rights Council recommendations on LGBT rights

Lithuania has responded to recommendations made by various member states of the Human Rights Council at its Universal Periodic Review of Lithuania in October 2011, dismissing the concerns raised about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Lithuania.

According to a statement issued by Lithuania’s Ministry of Justice and approved by the Government, recommendations on the protection of sexual minorities’ rights and elimination of law provisions which discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity have already been implemented, as in Lithuania discrimination on various grounds is prohibited by Constitution and the list of grounds provided is perceived as open, and prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation is specified in the Law on Equal Treatment.

LGL disagrees with the position taken by the Lithuanian Government, drawing attention to the case L v Lithuania, concerning a transsexual’s right to gender reassignment, which Lithuania lost in the European Court of Human Rights in 2007. The ruling obligated Lithuania to pass a law regulating the procedure and conditions of gender reassignment, which Lithuania has subsequently ignored. Further, Lithuanian conservative parliamentarians led by the chairman of the Committee on Health Affairs last March registered a proposal to amend the Civil Code with a prohibition of gender reassignment sur gery. Disappointed with the response to the recommendations, LGL urges the Lithuanian Government to engage in dialogue with experts and NGOs regarding gender reassignment regulations.
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Lithuanian Gay League posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual straight readers on 23/02/2012 +5
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Ministry of Health seeks advice from the Lithuanian Gay League


The State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service has received a query concerning children’s psychological health. The question was passed to the Ministry of Health, which started an investigation into the matter.

On 29 December 2011, a 53-year-old inhabitant of Vilnius Mr. V. D. turned to the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service, under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, with a request to explain whether a parade of naked men during daytime would be harmful to a child's health.

Having received the request, Ms. Simona Bronušienė, Deputy Head of the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service, took urgent measures and addressed the Ministry of Health, requesting an answer to the query.

Mr. Arvydas Gabrilavičius, Head of the General Medical Care Unit of the Ministry of Health, started an investigation and requested the Lithuanian Gay League to give a statement on the matter.

In his response to the Ministry of Health, Mr. Vladimir Simonko, Head of the Lithuanian Gay League, highlighted that Article 8 Paragraph 1 Sub-paragraph 3 of the Law on Meetings forbids to organize meetings in which participants are naked.

“Should participants of a public event breach this norm, they would be held liable in accordance with the procedures laid down in this Law, irrespective of their sex, sexual orientation or other bases,” the response of the Lithuanian Gay League to the Ministry of Health holds.

Mr. Simonko also drew the attention of the Ministry of Health to the definition of public information that has a damaging effect on the development of children set out in Article 4 Paragraph 2 of the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public.

“Information on a naked person per se, on his/her physiology and body composition, irrespective of his/her sex, sexual orientation, age or other bases, is not considered to be such kind of information,” the response of the Lithuanian Gay League holds. “Only information of an erotic nature (Art 4 Para 2 Sub-para 4) or information that promotes sexual relations (Art 4 Para 2 Sub-para 15), irrespective of the sex of participants in such relations, is considered to have a detrimental effect on minors,” Mr. Simonko, Head of the Lithuanian Gay League, notes in his response.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual straight readers on 23/02/2012 +5
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LGBT rights highlighted during the Universal Periodic Review of Lithuania
2012 02 23
LGL participated on 21 February in a meeting of the Lithuanian Human Rights Coalition hosted by Ambassador David Hunt at the British Embassy. LGL presented comments and recommendations made at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Lithuania regarding LGBT rights to the meeting participants, including several ambassadors to Lithuania.

The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review held its twelfth session from 3 to 14 October 2011, during which a review of Lithuania was held. LGL in collaboration with other NGOs contributed to the preparation of documents for this session, giving an overview on the status of LGBT individuals in Lithuania in collaboration with ILGA-Europe. The Lithuanian State was questioned by the Members States of the Human Rights Council about the actions that have been undertaken to improve the human rights situation in the country and to fulfill the human rights obligations.

Considering some reports of crimes committed towards LGBT persons, Sweden asked Lithuania what measures it will take to strengthen their rights and how the law could be refined to avoid discrimination against LGBT persons, and recommended taking action in order to avoid discrimination of LGBT persons, in practice and through law. Belgium stated that new amendments to the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information made secret any information “disparaging family values” or referring to marriage other than between people of the opposite sex. Belgium also noted that intolerance towards homosexuals increased over the past years due to discriminatory legislatives initiatives. Denmark expressed concerns at Lithuania’s homophobic legislation and recent proposals in the Parliament undermining the rights of sexual minorities. It referred to Amnesty International’s recommendations in this regard. Switzerland expressed concerns at the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information and at new amendments, which are discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Netherlands expressed concerns at legislative initiatives affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people.

The recommendations listed below enjoy the support of Lithuania:

Belgium: Refrain from adopting legislative measures which criminalise homosexual relations or breach the rights to freedom of expression and to non-discrimination of LGBT people.
Brazil: Further strengthen measures to prevent and combat discrimination and to investigate allegations of hate crimes;
USA: Develop public awareness campaigns to combat manifestations of discrimination and racism, including xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of intolerance in order to further protect and strengthen the rights of members of minority groups, including LGBT individuals and the Roma community;
Argentina: Consider/study the possibility to take additional measures to combat discrimination against LGBT people;
Ireland: Take further steps to eliminate discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity;
Australia: Continue to ensure that LGBT people are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Norway: Carefully consider whether the right balance is struck when the main street of Vilnius is made available for annual marches by neo-Nazis on Independence Day, whilst vulnerable groups like the LGBT society are refused to use the same venue, and are referred to less attractive locations; Develop even closer co-operation with civil society on human rights related issues
Slovenia: Refrain from legislative initiatives which may criminalize homosexual relations between consenting adults; take all necessary measures to prevent and prosecute all forms of violence and harassment related to sexual orientation and gender identity; ensure the full respect for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly for all, including LGBT people.


The following recommendations will be examined by Lithuania which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council in March 2012:

Belgium: Review the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information in order to remove all possibilities that this law may be applied in such a way to stigmatize or discriminate against LGBT people or to breach their rights to freedom of assembly or expression.
Switzerland: Introduce necessary measures to ensure full respect of human rights for all, including for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people, by reviewing the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information.
Netherlands: Take the necessary legislative measures and enact policies that recognise the diversity of families and provide same sex couples with the same rights and social security benefits as heterosexual couples.
Denmark: Take steps to ensure that legislation protects the full rights of sexual minorities.
Slovenia: Repeal any discriminatory provision in existing laws on sexual orientation and gender identity


Responses by Lithuania:

Regarding its family policy, Lithuania noted a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court which acknowledged partnership as another form of family and the current debate on how to better protect the rights of unmarried couples.

Replying to questions about the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information, Lithuania stressed that the law was adopted in order to implement the requirement of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that appropriate guidelines be developed for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being. As the original wording of the law evoked misgivings about its possible interpretation in a manner discriminatory against sexual minorities, the law was amended. Its current version did not classify information on homosexuality as detrimental to minors and actually protected sexual minorities by classifying as detrimental information which humiliates a person because of their sexual orientation.
To explain the attitude of the State towards sexual minorities, Lithuania stated that the Parliament rejected legislative initiatives which contained suggestions that it impose administrative sanctions for propagating homosexual relationships.
Lithuania mentioned the trend toward prosecuting hate crimes more intensively and gave the example of a recent case related to commentaries on the internet about sexual minorities.

Lithuania underlined that a major conceptual challenge was to ensure that all human rights were protected and not only the most popular of them. For example, the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information was just one example of how to reconcile competing claims relating to the protection of human rights. Lithuania was open to critical remarks with regard to the choices it made to address difficult questions.

Lithuania stated that the implementation of human rights was primarily the task of specialized ministries. However, the possibilities for civil society to get involved in law and policy making significantly increased recently with the inclusion of the principle of transparency in the legislative process. Overall, Lithuania thought that it would be a fair assessment to say that it achieved significant progress in ensuring human rights, notably in civil and political rights, which were adequately guaranteed.

On freedom of peaceful assembly, Lithuania indicated that it was guaranteed by law and the only restriction was related to the necessity of ensuring public safety. Lithuanian courts ensured that public safety was not used as a mean of unreasonable restriction of that freedom. Lithuania provided examples to back its statement, namely the 2010 Baltic gay parade, which took place in Vilnius, and a protest action by trade unions which took place in front of the Parliament.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual straight readers on 09/01/2012
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Seimas aims to tie concept of family to marriage

On 21 December, the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) accepted a draft amendment to the Constitution which states that “the family is created by a free marriage agreement between a man and woman”, with 62 members of Seimas in favour and 8 against. The proposal will next be considered by the Committee on Legal Affairs, and is due to be presented back to Seimas for approval in spring. The Human Rights Committee also wanted to analyse the proposal, but the Seimas did not agree to this.

15min.lt reported on 21 December that, according to Vilnius University law professor Vytautas Mizaras, the planned amendment to the Constitution would make Lithuania exceptional in the European context. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has expressed that family relations shall not be based only on marriage, but also on shared, permanent and stable life and mutual obligations. According to Mizaras “actual family relationships are recognised as well, not only on the formal registration of marriage, or even on the registration of partnership.”

In September the Constitutional Court announced that the State Family Policy adopted in 2008 – defining families as strictly based on marriage – was contradictory to the Constitution. Currently Article 38 of the Lithuanian Constitution states that family is the substance of society and the State, but there is no direct reference that family is created only through marriage.

All amendments to the Constitution must be considered and approved by Parliament twice, with a three month break between each vote. The proposal will be adopted if 94 members of parliament vote in favour of the amendment at each vote session.
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