Latvia's civil union law remains stuck in parliament committee

The Saeima Mandate Committee on November 30 rejected to advance the initiative on the legal protection of all families for viewing in the parliament.

The draft Civil Union law encourages legal recognition of couples living together without marriage and ensures their social protection. Such recognition and protection would also apply to same-sex couples.

Members of the Saeima Mandate Committee met for the first meeting today and one of the first items on its agenda was to decide on the way forward for the initiative signed by 23 thousand Latvian residents “On Legal Protection for All Families”. Several speakers at the meeting recalled that the former Saeima had ignored and failed to comply with the Constitution Court's setting for the protection of all families.

“It is the responsibility of the legislator to introduce protection for all families, including same-sex,” said Dagnija Palčevska, director of the Department of Civil Rights of the Ministry of Justice.

“Supporting other initiatives other than natural families is wrong for our time,” said the Saeima deputy Edmunds Zivtiņš (Latvia First). Also, National Alliance MP Ravis Dzintars said he would vote against the initiative because he is not ready to support parallel institutions to marriage.

In turn, Antoņina Nenaševa (Progressives) said that such an issue cannot be overlooked in a democratic country.

Five members of “New Unity” and “Progressive” voted in favor of the initiative to be viewed in the Saeima, while eight deputies of the other factions voted against. The review of the initiative at the parliamentary level thus was rejected.

The Civil Union Law in Latvia has been stuck for quite some time. Drafted early in the year, it did not get adopted either time of viewing at the Saeima since the necessary quorum of voters could not be ensured due to the Harmony party refusing to participate in the vote.

In the draft law, the civil union is defined as a notarized agreement between two natural adult persons, which establishes or terminates the material and immaterial rights and duties of the persons. The draft law ensures that couples in civil unions can become “visible” to the State if they develop mutual relations in accordance with the procedures specified in the draft law, thereby obtaining protection for personal and property rights.

The draft law was created following the Constitutional Court's 2020 judgment on the right of a same-sex couple to a parental leave. 

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