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European Parliament LGBTI group critical of move to define 'family' in Constitution

A group of 150 European Parliament members has issued a statement condemning early moves in the Latvian parliament, the Saeima, to define the family in solely heterosexual terms.

The LGBTI Intergroup described the initiative of the right-of-center National Alliance political grouping as "an affront to LGBTI persons, the rule of law and European values".

The abbreviation 'LGBTI' stands for "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex."

As previously reported by LSM, the draft bill “Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia” passed and was sent to the respective Committee for review. The draft bill says: “The State protects and supports marriage – a union between a man and a woman, a family based on marriage, blood relation or adoption, the rights of parents and a child, including the right to grow up in a family based on a mother (woman) and father (man).” 

Liesje Schreinemacher MEP (Renew Europe), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, said the bill "perfectly sums up illiberal politics: it delivers radical ideas only to sow hatred and polarize society. We condemn the proposals of this draft bill in the strongest terms and urge the Parliamentarians to listen to their people, as well as civil society and the organisations which have called for its rejection."

"The NA party unilaterally proposed a bill that would strip some citizens of their rights," she said.

Maria Walsh MEP (EPP), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, said: "This bill directly neglects the jurisprudence of the Latvian Constitutional Court and is therefore an affront to the rule of law. Can we merely accept a suspension of Latvia’s obligations under European human rights law and standards? As legislators, we have a responsibility to uphold human rights – they are not trade-off coins for populist ends. We call on the Latvian Parliament to act in defence of its citizens’ rights and reject this bill at first reading."

The LGBTI Intergroup claims to be the largest of the European Parliament’s 27 Intergroups. However, there are no members from the European Conservatives and Reformists political bloc with which the National Alliance and its two MEPs are affiliated. 

143 MEPs are full members of the LGBTI Intergroup while nine are listed as supporters who are members, but their names are not made public at their request.

The two Latvian members are Ivars Ījābs (Development/For!) and former Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs, a longtime political foe of the National Alliance.

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