Partnership law to be viewed by Latvian parliament next week

The Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima has directed the package of draft laws regarding the introduction of a new legal institute – partnership – to the parliamentary meeting this week and the final reading next week, Latvian Radio reported October 31.

The Ministry of Justice on Monday submitted eight draft laws to the Saeima covering the framework of the partnership as a way of legally strengthening the relationship between two adults and providing them with certain types of social and economic protection. This task had been given to the Saeima by the Constitutional Court in 2020. It said in its judgment that the country must provide legal, economic, and social protection for those in relationships.

So far, several attempts to legally strengthen the cohabitation of unmarried couples have failed. The main objections relate to the fact that such rights would also apply to same-sex couples.

In 24 years, this is the ninth time that the framework of the partnership is on the agenda of the Saeima.

The previous Saeima in two readings supported, but in the final reading did not adopt the Civil Union Law, which in many ways was similar to the current package of laws and would have allowed to legally establish the cohabitation of two adults. Then the 14th Saeima Committee rejected the viewing of the Civil Union Law in the Saeima. The “” public initiative of more than 23 thousand people on legal protection for all families was also rejected. 

In mid-December 2022, at the urging of the Progressives, the 14th Saeima again ruled on taking over the Civil Union Law from the previous parliamentary term, rejecting it.

"It is known that the administrative courts have already had favorable decisions in several dozen cases concerning the establishment of a family relationship and that these couples have already exercised the right to seek public services or to visit their partner in hospital. Such seemingly self-evident things. I think this is the absolute minimum we as a legal state can provide. It, too, has not been equated in any way or contradicted by the existing marriage institute," said Agnese Krasta, member of the Saeima Legal Affairs Committee (New Unity).

The partnership is expected to be approved by a notary and will be recorded in the register of natural persons.

This framework does not create any new framework for personal relations, or, to put it simply, it is not same-sex marriage. However, the Committee also argued at the hearing that this proposed partnership framework would jeopardize marriages. This was expressed by the deputy Edmunds Teirumnieks of the National Alliance, a political force that has long opposed the adoption of this regulation.

"In fact, what we're seeing is that this package undermines the institute for marriage as such [..]. Either way, we do not support this package and we will also vote against it,” Teirumnieks said.

The Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima decided to move the partnership framework in an accelerated manner, in the first reading the Saeima will see it already this Thursday, and in the final reading – a week later.

Amendments to the laws are expected to come into force in July 2024 if the Saeima approves them.

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