Lithuania does not recognise same-sex marriages or civil unions. A bill to grant same-sex couples some limited legal rights and benefits is pending in the Seimas.

Civil partnerships

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe¹ .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Marriage   Civil union   Limited domestic recognition (cohabitation)   Limited foreign recognition (residency rights)   Unrecognized   Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples ¹ May include recent laws or court decisions that have not yet entered into effect.  vte
Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe¹
  Marriage
  Civil union
  Limited domestic recognition (cohabitation)
  Limited foreign recognition (residency rights)
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
¹ May include recent laws or court decisions that have not yet entered into effect.

In 2011, the Constitutional Court of Lithuania ruled that the family does not derive exclusively from marriage, opening the possibility for partnerships or other forms of legal recognition to include same-sex couples.[1]

On 25 March 2015, nine MPs from the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Movement introduced a civil partnership bill to the Seimas.[2][3] Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius expressed his opposition to the bill.[4] On 6 May 2015, the Committee on Legal Affairs announced that they could find no constitutional barriers to same-sex civil partnerships.[5] The bill was not voted on and died at the end of the legislative term in November 2016. A similar bill was introduced by deputies from the Liberal Movement on 30 May 2017.[6] The bill was rejected in its first reading in a 29–59 vote with 20 abstentions on 15 June 2017.[7][8]

In 2017, the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union and the Homeland Union proposed a bill to establish "cohabitation agreements" (Lithuanian: susitarimo dėl bendro gyvenimo) as an alternative to civil partnerships. The proposed legislation would guarantee cohabitants hospital visitation rights and the right to inherit a late partner's property. Povilas Urbšys, one of the authors of the proposal, said: "Our registered project will effectively contribute to legal clarity, regulate property rights and some property unrelated relations between people living together and will also help to avoid negative consequences when the cohabitation is dissolved."[9] The proposal, which was criticised by LGBT groups, explicitly stipulates that the cohabitants entering the agreement do not intend to create family relations. The proposal was preliminarily approved by the Seimas with 46 votes for, 17 votes against and 6 abstentions on 31 May 2017 and sent to further consideration.[10][11] On 25 October 2017, the Lithuanian Government announced its support for the bill,[12] but similarly to the previous bills it stalled and was not voted on before the end of the legislative term.

On 14 February 2018, appearing at an LGBT rally in Vilnius, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis called on the Seimas to recognise same-sex partnerships.[13] Of the eight candidates running in the 2019 presidential election, five expressed support for registered partnerships, namely Vytenis Andriukaitis, Arvydas Juozaitis, Valentinas Mazuronis, Ingrida Šimonytė and winner Gitanas Nausėda. The other three, Mindaugas Puidokas, Saulius Skvernelis and Naglis Puteikis, expressed support for limited legal rights such as inheritance, common property, etc., while stating their opposition to same-sex marriage.[1]

In December 2020, MP Tomas Raskevicius of the Freedom Party said that the government would submit a bill for civil partnerships in March 2021. The bill's introduction was a condition for creating the ruling coalition.[14] In May 2021, more than 10,000 people took to the streets in Vilnius to protest the partnership legislation.[15] On 25 May 2021, the civil partnership bill was defeated at its first reading, receiving only 63 votes in favour of the 65 required. Raskevicius said the bill would be brought back to Parliament in an amended form during the autumn.[16]

In May 2022, a group of MPs drafted a civil union bill which would provide limited protections for registered same-sex couples. The proposal is a compromise after the more expansive civil partnership bill was defeated in 2021.[17] On 26 May 2022, the bill passed its first reading in the Seimas by 70 votes in favour, 49 votes against and 6 abstentions. It passed its second reading 70–52 on 26 May, and a final vote is expected at the end of June.[18]

Same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Lithuania, as the Civil Code defines marriage as a "voluntary agreement between a man and a woman". Moreover, there is an additional article in the Civil Code that explicitly bans same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, a drive to amend the Constitution of Lithuania to ban same-sex marriages was reportedly under way in December 2005 by a conservative member of the Seimas who had started collecting signatures.[19] Julius Sabatauskas, chairman of the Parliament's Legal Committee, however, denounced the plan and said it was unneeded. Some MPs say the Constitution already bans same-sex marriage. Article 38 of the Constitution states: "Marriage shall be concluded upon the free mutual consent of man and woman."[a] The actual effect of this statement is unknown and it has yet to be challenged in court.

2018 European Court of Justice ruling

Main article: Coman and Others v General Inspectorate for Immigration and Ministry of the Interior

On 5 June 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that European Union member states must recognise the freedom of movement and residency rights of same-sex spouses, provided one partner is an EU citizen.[22][23][24] The court ruled that EU member states may choose whether or not to allow same-sex marriage, but they cannot obstruct the freedom of residence of an EU citizen and their spouse. In addition, the court ruled that the term "spouse" is gender-neutral, and that it does not necessarily imply a person of the opposite sex.[25][26]

On 11 January 2019, the Supreme Court, in compliance with the ECJ ruling, ruled that the Lithuanian state must grant residency rights to the same-sex partners of EU citizens.[27][28]

Public opinion

According to the 2015 Eurobarometer, 24% of Lithuanians supported same-sex marriage, the fourth lowest among EU member states alongside Slovakia. EU-wide support was 61%.[29]

The 2019 Eurobarometer found that 30% of Lithuanians thought same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, while 63% were against.[30]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ In Lithuanian: Santuoka sudaroma laisvu vyro ir moters sutarimu.[20][21]

References

  1. ^ a b "Lithuanian presidential candidcates on legalising civil partnership". lrt.lt. 23 April 2019.
  2. ^ 9 MPs register bill on same-sex partnership
  3. ^ Civilinio kodekso 3.1, 3.3, 3.16, 3.140, 3.150, 3.194, 3.229, 3.230, 3.231, 3.234, 3.235 straipsnių ir III knygos III dalies ir VI skyriaus pavadinimų pakeitimo, Kodekso papildymo 3.230(1) ir 3.230(2) straipsniais, bei 3.232 ir 3.233 straipsnių pripažinimo netekusiais galios
  4. ^ PM against legalisation of same-sex partnerships
  5. ^ Lithuanian parliament committee: ‘constitution no barrier to gay civil partnerships’
  6. ^ Civilinio kodekso 2.18, 2.19, 3.3, 3.16, 3.140, 3.141, 3.143, 3.146, 3.147, 3.150, 3.155 straipsnių, Kodekso Trečiosios knygos VI dalies XV skyriaus ir 5.13, 6.588, 6.590, 6.744 straipsnių pakeitimo įstatymo projektas
  7. ^ (in Lithuanian) Seime žlugo bandymas įteisinti vyro ir moters bei homoseksualų partnerystę
  8. ^ Lithuania tries, but fails to recognize same-sex couples
  9. ^ Lithuanian Peasant and Green Party Propose “Cohabitation Agreements” Instead of Partnerships
  10. ^ Seimas Approves the Proposal on “Cohabitation Agreements” as Alternative to Partnership Law
  11. ^ (in Lithuanian) Civilinio kodekso 6.589, 6.969, 6.971, 6.973, 6.978 straipsnių pakeitimo įstatymo projektas
  12. ^ (in Lithuanian) DĖL LIETUVOS RESPUBLIKOS CIVILINIO KODEKSO 6.589, 6.969, 6.971, 6.973, 6.978 STRAIPSNIŲ PAKEITIMO ĮSTATYMO PROJEKTO NR. XIIIP-750 IR LIETUVOS RESPUBLIKOS PAVELDIMO TURTO MOKESČIO ĮSTATYMO NR. IX-1239 7 STRAIPSNIO PAKEITIMO ĮSTATYMO PROJEKTO NR. XIIIP-751
  13. ^ Lithuanian Prime Minister Wants Same-Sex Partnerships Law
  14. ^ "Lithuania set to legalise gay civil partnerships next year, says LGBT+ lawmaker". Reuters. 21 December 2020.
  15. ^ Sytas, Andrius (25 May 2021). "Lithuania parliament votes against debating same-sex partnership bill". Reuters.
  16. ^ Da Silva, Chantal (26 May 2021). "Bill to allow same-sex partnerships in Lithuania falls at first hurdle". EuroNews. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  17. ^ "Lithuanian MPs propose civil union as compromise on same-sex partnership". www.baltictimes.com. Retrieved 2022-05-23.
  18. ^ "Lithuanian parliament agrees to consider same-sex partnership bill". euronews.com. 27 May 2022.
  19. ^ "Lithuania could follow in Latvia’s footsteps on banning gay marriage" The Baltic Times, December 24, 2005
  20. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania" (PDF). wipo.int.
  21. ^ "Lietuvos Respublikos Konstitucija". lrs.lt (in Lithuanian).
  22. ^ EU states must recognize foreign same-sex marriages: court, Reuters, June 5, 2018
  23. ^ Rights for same-sex married couples to move around the EU confirmed in landmark ruling, Yahoo News, June 6, 2018
  24. ^ Alina Tryfonidou (June 7, 2018). "Rights for same-sex married couples to move around the EU confirmed in landmark ruling". The Conversation.
  25. ^ "Same-sex spouses have equal residency rights". BBC News. June 6, 2018.
  26. ^ JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Grand Chamber) 5 June 2018
  27. ^ Lithuania court hands down landmark ruling about gay couples. Pink News, 11 January 2019
  28. ^ Lithuanian Constitutional Court rules same-sex spouses be granted residence permits. Emerging Europe, 14 January 2019
  29. ^ DISCRIMINATION IN THE EU IN 2015
  30. ^ "Eurobarometer on Discrimination 2019: The social acceptance of LGBTI people in the EU". TNS. European Commission. p. 2. Retrieved 23 September 2019.