Social Issues

Gender-neutral partnership law suffers setback in Lithuania

Riga, Latvia, May 25 (EFE).- The Lithiuanian parliament or Seimas narrowly rejected a draft law that would have legalized gender-neutral civil partnerships Tuesday.

The proposal would have allowed same-sex couples to register their relationships, but also co-habiting opposite-sex couples, local media reported.

The bill was backed by the liberal Freedom Party — a member of Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte’s coalition government — but failed to garner absolute majority support amongst the chamber’s 141 members.

A simple majority of 63 votes in favour did not surpass the necessary threshold to pass the law, with 58 votes against and seven abstentions.

However, the draft law was not scrapped and will be sent back to be “improved”. The motion to send the law back was passed by a vote of 75-52.

Freedom Party parliamentarian Tomas Vytautas Raskevicius, the main sponsor of the bill, said after the vote that civil partnerships will be considered again in the parliament’s autumn session.

“Never before have there been so much support for these relationships [same-sex unions]. We have 63 votes, just two votes short [of passing the bill],” Raskevicius told local reporters on Tuesday.

“In a context of hate and disinformation, the bill failed,” said Freedom Party leader Ausrine Armonaite to local media, showing disappointment by the outcome of the vote.

The bill, tabled May 21, defines a civil partnership as the “cohabitation of two persons (partners), registered in accordance with the procedure established by legal acts, for the purpose of establishing and (or) developing, and protecting the relationship of the partners.”

At the demand of conservative parties, these partnerships would not be allowed to adopt children.

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