On 21 December, the Seimas has approved the bill of amendment to the Constitution, according to which the family concept would be defined in terms of marriage, 15min.lt reports.
62 members of Seimas voted for the provision that “the family is created by a free marriage agreement between a man and woman”, whereas 8 disagreed and 6 abstained. This amendment was initiated by 98 members of parliament.
Later on, this project will be considered by the Committee on Legal Affairs, whereas it is due to be presented back to Seimas for the approval in spring.
The Human Rights Committee wanted to analyse the project seperately, however, the Seimas did not agree with such a proposal. 30 members of the Seimas voted in favour for HRC to analyse the project, whereas, 40 were against this idea.
A conservative Rimantas Jonas Dagys, who voted against an approval of HRC as an extra committee, said that this committee may protract the process of the approval of the project.
All amendments to the Constitution must be considered and approved by Parliament twice, with a three month break between each vote. The proposal will be adopted if 94 members of parliament vote in favour of the amendment at each vote session.
98 parliamentarians presented the amendment after the Constitutional Court announced in September, that the concept of the State Family Policy adopted in 2008 – recognising families only as those living in marriage – was contradictory to the Constitution.
In its resolution, the Constitutional Court recognised marriage as “a family model developed historically, which has exceptional value to society, ensuring nations’ and states’ viability and historical survival.” At the same time, the Court announced that a family could be created not only on the basis of marriage, and that the expression of the form of the relationship had no fundamental importance on the Constitutional concept of family.”
At present, Article 38 of the Constitution says that family is the substance of society and the State. The State acts to protect the family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood; marriage is made by a free agreement between man and woman. However, there is no direct reference that family is created only through marriage.
A survey initiated at the end of October by the Baltic News Service (BNS) shows that 46% of the respondents support the position of the Constitutional Court, that the family cis reated only through marriage. Meanwhile, 41% did not agree with this definition of a family. The rest 13% did not have an opinion on this question.
A survey by company RAIT revealed that elderly people are more supportive of the definition of a family via marriage. 64% of respondents between 25 and 34 years old agreed with the definition of the Constitutional Court. Whereas, only 24%respondents between 65 and 74 years old agreed with the definition of the Constitutional Court.
Read Vytautas Mizaras’, lawyer and professor at Vilnius University, opinion on the issue.