15% of signatures collected for referendum against partnership law

With three days to go until signature collection closes, 14.65% of the necessary votes have been collected to trigger a referendum on repealing amendments to the law introducing a partnership institute in Latvia, LETA said January 2.

As reported by the Central Election Commission (CVK), 22,602 voters signed up to trigger a referendum to repeal the relevant amendment to the Notarial Law between December 7 and January 2 at 16:00.

To trigger a referendum, one-tenth, or 154,241, voter's signatures must be collected by January 5.

A list of local governments and representations of Latvia abroad with locations for collecting signatures and their working times is available here.

As previously reported by LSM, on November 9 the Saeima approved a new partnership law by means of amendments to the Notary Law that would include provision for registered same-sex partnerships (and dual-sex partnerships) with legal status and protection for the first time. Amendments to the laws are expected to come into force on July 1, 2024.

The applicable legislation was passed thanks to the government's narrow majority in parliament but was preceded by stormy debates both within the chamber and in wider society. Reaction to the partnership law has varied from joy among civil rights groups to dismay among 'family values' traditionalists.

If the referendum takes place, the law may be repealed if at least half of the number of voters who participated in the last Saeima elections participate in the referendum, and the majority of them vote to repeal the law. 916,368 voters participated in the Saeima elections, a turnout of around 60%, so a turnout of around 30% (458,184 voters) would be required for the result of any referendum to be binding.

If such a referendum were held, the partnership institute would be supported by 32% of Latvia's residents and 30% would oppose it, according to a survey of residents conducted by the research center Norstat in cooperation with LSM.lv.

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