Little chance of referendum to repeal partnership law in Latvia

In under three weeks, just over 10% of the necessary votes have been collected to trigger a referendum on repealing amendments to the law introducing a  new form of civil partnership, LETA reported.

As the representative of the Central Election Commission (CVK) Andrejs Vaivars told the LETA Agency, 16,170 voters, or 10.5% of the number required to initiate the referendum, have signed up to the proposed repeal referendum between December 7 and December 26.

To trigger a referendum, one-tenth, or about 155,000, voter signatures would have to be collected by January 5. So far it appears the great majority of voters do not feel sufficiently strongly about scrubbing the law to give it their time. 

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If the referendum takes place, the law may be repealed if at least half of the number of voters who participated in the last Saeima elections participate in the referendum, and the majority of them vote to repeal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

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