Senate says same-sex partnerships should be registered as civil status

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The Department of Administrative Affairs of the Supreme Court (Senate) appealed to the Constitutional Court with an application and consequently suspended proceedings in a case in which two persons of the same sex wish to obtain recognition and registration of their family relationship, the Senate said in a release June 7.

The Constitutional Court has already recognized that the first sentence of Section 110 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia imposes an obligation on the legislator to ensure legal protection of a family of a same-sex couple, or to determine the legal framework for family relations. The legal framework for family relations includes the legal framework for personal and property relations between family members, which must also provide persons with a legal option to strengthen their family relationship and be recognized as a family by the State. The obligation to provide family protection for same-sex couples also stems from the principle of human dignity, which requires recognition of the values of all people.

According to the Senate's view, one element of that obligation is that the state must ensure the registration of same-sex couples' family relationships in a single national register. Taking into account the definition of the civil status document specified in Section 2 of the Law on Registration of Civil Status Documents, the legal strengthening of the same sex couple's family is, by its nature, a civil status document which is therefore to be registered as such. However, the legislator has not fulfilled this obligation because it has not provided for the family rights of a same-sex couple to be registered in the registry of civil status documents.

In light of the above, the Senate considers that Section 3, Paragraphs one and three of the Law on the Registration of Civil Status Documents in so far as it does not foresee a type of civil status act that would allow the registration of relations of a same-sex couple, does not comply with Section 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia (principle of human dignity) and Section 110, first sentence.

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