Constitutional Court recognizes right of same-sex couple to parental leave

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The Constitutional Court has announced judgment on the right of a same-sex couple to a parental leave November 12.

Constitutional Court had received an appeal from a mother whose female partner was unable to receive the ten-day leave which, according to Labor Act, is to be granted to the child's father. The applicant said that this was contrary to the best interests of the child, since it did not allow the person to provide physical and emotional support to his or her partner and her child.

According to the applicant, Article 110 of the Constitution is infringed, which stipulates that the legislator has an obligation to provide protection for all families. But the Saeima considered that the rule was in line with the Constitution.

On the other hand, the Constitutional Court, in a judgment read on 1 November, acknowledged that the provision of the Labor Act, in so far as it does not provide protection and support for the mother's partner due to the birth of the child, does not comply with the first sentence of Section 110 of the Constitution.

According to the Court judgment, it shall be deemed null and void as from 1 June 2022. The exception is the family who appealed the relevant provision of the Labor Act - regarding them, it is deemed to be invalid from the time of the infringement of their fundamental rights.

The judgment shall not be appealed.

The Court said that the Constitution sets the state's obligation to protect the family of same-sex partners as well.

The Court stressed that, in the case of legal relations concerning a child, his or her interests and rights are priority. As far as possible, the country should ensure that the child is grown up in a family environment. And the legislation needs to make sure that regulation is in the best interests of children.

The Constitution requires the law to ensure the legal protection of every family, the Court pointed out. The Court acknowledged that a number of existing regulatory mechanisms could also be extended to same-sex partners. However, the right to exercise this option cannot be regarded as a legal framework for same-sex partnerships.


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