Civil unions between persons of the same sex are also being considered in Lithuania, despite the fact that 70 percent of adult citizens in the country said they were against it in an opinion poll conducted last year.
Last month, in fact, parliament admitted for discussion a bill that aims to introduce same-sex partnership into the country’s legal system, casting 70 votes in favor and 52 against. In May 2021, a similar attempt had been rejected by parliament, with a difference of just two votes.
Now the bill is up for debate, albeit with opposition from many MPs who fear, among other things, that it could be a first step toward a more “pushed” and accomplished version, a full-fledged same-sex “marriage.”
Currently, Article 38 of the Lithuanian Constitution states that “marriage is permitted with the free mutual consent of a man and a woman.” In contrast, same-sex “marriage” is explicitly prohibited by Article 3.12 of the Civil Code, which states that “marriage is permitted with a person of the opposite sex.” Civil unions are allowed, but exclusively for heterosexual couples.
Also, Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference opposes the new bill and in a letter to the faithful urged parliamentarians to vote against the proposal, citing the 2016 words of Pope Francis in which the pontiff stated that “[…] de facto or same-sex unions cannot simply be equated with marriage.”
“The civil unions bill essentially proposes what Pope Francis urges us not to do,” they wrote, “which is to equate de facto and same-sex unions with marriage. We cannot support this bill, which distorts and devalues the concepts of marriage and family.”
The bishops further stated that civil union could be “a Trojan horse” leading to civil marriage.
Lithuania is a predominantly Catholic country and with legislation dating back to 2005 it prohibits “[…] discrimination based on sexual orientation in the areas of employment, education and access to goods and services.” Violence against LGBT+ people and minorities is explicitly prohibited by Section 170 of the country’s Penal Code.