Survey shows split opinions regarding partnership law in Latvia

On Thursday, December 7, the collection of signatures begins for the proposal to hold a referendum on amendments to the Notarial Law, which would allow the introduction of unmarried couples' partnerships in Latvia.

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If the referendum takes place, the law may be repealed if at least half of the number of voters who participated in the last Saeima elections participate in the referendum, and the majority of them vote to repeal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, surveying 1,006 respondents in total.

To the question “If there was a referendum on introducing the framework of the Partnership Institute into legislation in Latvia, what would your vote be?”, 32% of respondents said they would “support the framework of partnership,” 30% would “oppose the framework of partnership,” 19% would not participate in such a referendum, and 19% of respondents could not respond.

Among age groups, the largest support for partnership regulation – 45% – is in the youth group (18-29 years). Conversely, the most dismissive attitude is in the 40-74 age groups, with 35% voting in those age groups to reject the partnership framework.

Of the regions, the largest support for partnership regulation (36%) is in Rīga, while the biggest proportion voting against is in Kurzeme (36% would vote against). Latgale (23%) has the smallest proportion of those voting for the partnership regulation.

Among Latvian ethnic nationals, 38% expressed support for regulation, but 28% would vote against it, 21% supported such regulation among Russians and 34% voted against it, 26% of people of other nationalities expressed support, while 35% opposed it.



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