#LGBTQIA

Lithuania Ready To Legalise Gay Civil Partnerships Next Year

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Lithuania’s constitution says marriage can only be between a man and a woman. But that is all set to change as per reports.

According to Lithuainia’s only openly LGBT+ lawmaker, the Baltic nation is all set to legalise same-sex civil partnerships in 2021. However, gay marriage could be up to a decade away. Tomas Raskevicius talked about an amendment to the constitution that could potentially permit same-sex civil partnerships even though marriage would still be a far cry in the country. He is confident that registered partnerships for same-sex couples will become law before the next parliamentary election due in 2024.

Raskevicius, 31, represents the newly established Freedom Party. He told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview, “We’re going to submit the bill in the spring session in March”.

The bill’s introduction in the current parliamentary term was a condition of the opposition Liberal Party for joining the ruling coalition.

Raskevicius said that there are some members of the (majority Homeland Union party) who have already declared they are not going to vote for the bill. Therefore, they are going to look for some additional votes from the opposition.

In common with many other former Soviet countries gay sex was legalised in 1993. However, LGBT+ people are still unable to adopt children. A law preventing the discussion of homosexuality with minors is on the statute books.

The “Protection of Minors” law is being considered by the European Court of Human Rights, but Raskevicius said it was his “principal position … to get that legislation lifted” before the court gives a ruling.

A 2014 European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report found 71% of LGBT+ Lithuanians feel uncomfortable being open about their sexuality or gender identity. This happens despite the workplace discrimination law being lifted in 2003.

Full Drag

Lithuania’s first openly gay MP was Rokas Zilinskas, who died in 2017. Raskevicius is the first to declare his sexuality before entering parliament.

Raskevicius is the country’s only openly LGBT+ lawmaker.  He got support for October’s election to challenge “stereotypes about LGBT people” and recognises the need to be a role model.

What You Should Know

  • Lithuania is all set to legalise same-sex civil partnerships next year.
  • A law preventing the discussion of homosexuality with minors is on the statute books.
  • The bill is going to be submitted in spring session, in March.

According to him, he did not imagine in his “wildest dreams” of becoming a member of parliament. He however finds it empowering.

At the same time, he also feels a big responsibility because people gave him their trust and the mandate to fulfil their promises.  He really has to work very hard to make that happen.

Shivangi Thapa is an intern with SheThePeople.TV