Saeima rejects civil partnership bill

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The Latvian parliament, the Saeima, on June 20 rejected an attempt to introduce a law that might eventually have allowed same-sex civil partnerships to have legal status.

Introduction of the bill, which was proposed by the Development/For! alliance was a chaotic affair with a well-known opponent of same-sex partnerships, independent deputy Julija Stepanenko listing herself as speaking for the bill. An unusual discussion among Saeima deputies followed before it was decided that she would be allowed to speak. However, no surprise conversion was in store as despite nominally speaking for the motion, Stepanenko proceeded to compare the proposals to the social engineering of Marxist-Leninism.

Janis Iesalnieks of the National Alliance then adopted a more conventional approach in speaking against the proposals, suggesting that they ran contrary to the constitution and traditional values.

Lawmakers rejected sending the bill forward for further discussion by 60 votes to 23, with support coming only from the Development/For! and New Unity deputies, plus a handful of opposition Harmony members.  

However, a group set up to support introduction of the legislation said it would not give up and would try to persuade deputies of the need to return to the question in future.

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