Progress and change are on the horizon in Lithuania!
At present, Lithuania does not acknowledge equal marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples. But this could soon change with a bill known as the "Partnership Law" that has been put forward in parliament. This bill aims to confer the right of civil unions to same-sex couples.
The idea was to reduce the inequality between straight married couples and same-sex couples by allowing same-sex couples access to certain legal benefits such as joint property and inheritance rights.
Unfortunately, there is still much work to be done in Lithuania to improve the place of LGBTQ people in society.
A poll organized last April showed that 70% of the population is opposed to civil unions for same-sex couples.
So when the bill was introduced to parliament for a vote, there was not much hope.
However, even if the result was negative, it was very close because only 2 votes were missing. 65 votes were needed for the bill to move forward, but only 63 legislators approved it, 58 voted against it, and 7 abstained.
MP Tomas Raskevicius (Photo by Nuotr Martyno Ambrazo)
“This vote shows that guaranteeing human rights is a long-term process that still needs a lot of work,” openly gay member of parliament Tomas Raskevicius, who sponsored the bill, told Reuters.
But the story won’t end there. A new bill containing improvements I am not aware of at the moment will be introduced around next fall, as MP Raskevicius announced.
So there is still hope, especially since the bill is supported by Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte.