Saeima committee ditches civil union law

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The Saeima Legal Affairs Committee on Tuesday decided not to continue work on the Civil Union Law started by the previous Saeima, Latvian Radio reported December 6. That means members of the 14th Saeima will not vote on a draft law that protects the legal relationship of all families.

The 13th Saeima saw the Civil Union Law in two readings. The author of the draft law was the Ministry of Justice, and the discussions were relatively broad. 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.

Some members have stated that the draft law should continue to be viewed, because the Saeima must comply with the decisions of the Constitutional Court, which requires the protection of all families - including those of same-sex partners. Other members oppose viewing the bill.

There was also a proportion of MPs who said the law should be made clearer, but that does not preclude continued work on it.

Five members of the Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of continuing work on the bill, but five were also against it. In the event of an equal vote, another vote was held, but it did not differ. This means that the Members decided not to proceed with the draft law.

Various initiatives have so far reached the Saeima, such as the Law on Cohabitation in 2018, Law on Life partners in 2019, but none of these drafts were supported by the Members.

According to the Constitutional Court, a legal framework which would give a family of same-sex partners a formal recognition but would not provide protection and support, would mean, by its very nature, the recognition of a family of same-sex partners as an unimportant form of family and would therefore be offensive to human dignity.

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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