A bill to legalize same-sex civil unions in Lithuania has cleared a parliamentary committee that was tasked to determine whether such a law would breach the country’s constitution.
Lithuania has defined marriage as only being between two people of the two sexes so the inquiry was an important hurdle in progressing the bill.
The inquiry was held by the Committee on Legal Affairs of Lithuanian Parliament, known locally as the Seimas, which announced its findings last Wednesday.
‘The majority of committee members agreed that the bill would not run counter to the Constitution,’ committee deputy chair Stasys Sedbaras said, according to The Lithuania Tribune.
The inquiry was held after a group of nine Social Democratic and Liberal MPs cosponsored a bill to create civil partnerships for both gay and straight couples in late March.
Currently the only kind of relationship given any legal weight in Lithuania is heterosexual marriage.
Critics of the bill have claimed it will undermine the ‘traditional family’ and devalue marriage in the eyes of young people.
However its supporters say that the bill would resolve a host of legal issues for committed same-sex couples while leaving marriage as a separate institution.