Lithuania not ready to discuss gay civil unions, says president

Lithuanian president Dalia GrybauskaitÄ— says discussions on introducing same-sex partnerships in Lithuania are premature

Lithuania not ready to discuss gay civil unions, says president
21 February 2013

The president of LIthuania, Dalia GrybauskaitÄ— told journalists that she thinks the country is not ready for a discussion on gay marriage although she thinks it’s worthwhile.

‘I think these discussions in Lithuania are very premature and are only starting.

I think it’s worth holding discussions on any issue in Lithuania. And when the time comes, then we’ll decide.

I think it’s a very premature discussion’, she told journalists on today (21 February).

Yesterday (20 February), during a discussion on the topic at the Lithuanian parliament, prime minister, Algirdas Butkevičius, stated his opposition to the legalization of gay partnerships: ‘I have a strong opinion about same-sex partnerships and have said on numerous occasions that I am against them.

During the parliamentary debate, Dalia KuodytÄ—, a member of the Liberal Movement, replied came out in support of legalizing gay partnerships: ‘I see no reasons why a certain group should have restricted rights to partnership.

‘Therefore, we need to talk about the institute of partnership as such, which could be an option for both heterosexual and homosexual couples’.

Earlier this month, justice minister, Juozas Bernatonis said the government has no interest following the UK or France in introducing gay marriage nor in proposing legislation on registered partnerships.

There are several provisions banning the registration of same-sex unions in Lithuania.

Article 38 of the Lithuanian Constitution states ‘Marriage shall be concluded upon the free mutual consent of a man and a woman’.

Same-sex marriage is also explicitly banned in Article 3.12 of the country’s Civil Code, stating that ‘Marriage shall be concluded with a person of the opposite sex only’.

Moreover, the country’s Civil Code allows the institution of partnerships to be approved by the legislative authorities, although Article 3.229 of the Code restricts them to heterosexual couples

Although homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993, Lithuania has very limited rights for gays and lesbians.

Several studies demonstrate that negative attitudes against LGBT people remain firmly entrenched in Lithuania.  

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