Seimas aims to tie concept of family to marriage

09/01/2012
Submitted by LGL

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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