Liberals in Lithuania have vowed to continue to fight for recognising same-sex unions after a draft bill submitted by the leaders and MPs of ALDE member parties Liberalų sąjūdis and Laisvės partija was defeated last week.
Ahead of the vote, the Speaker of the Seimas and leader of Liberalų sąjūdis, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen said: “My stance is clear – we will not have a fully functioning society if we stigmatise its individual groups and give them different rights. It is shortsighted and morally irresponsible. New rights conferred to the people who do not enjoy these rights at present will not affect the rights enjoyed by others in any way.”
In the vote, no majority to proceed was reached as 58 MPs voted against and 7 abstained.
Laisvės partija leader and Minister of Economic Affairs & Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, said the bill aims to “ensure equality before the law, dignity and equal treatment for all couples, including LGBT”. Afterwards, she commented: “This is not the end, we will continue to demand change, that every citizen is equal before the law!”
Disappointing... @LRSeimas rejected submission of civil partnership union bill. As our Chairperson said @ArmonaiteA This is not the end, we will continue to demand change, that every citizen is equal before the law! #Equality #Lithuania #LGBTQ #loveislove @ALDEParty @RenewEurope pic.twitter.com/NuMb2x62X5— Laisvės partija (@laisvespartija) May 25, 2021
Arminas Lydeka, a member of the Liberal Movement faction, said: “We first submitted the project in 2017, when support did not reach 30 votes. Now that support is doubled, but it was still not enough. It is a great pity, but we do not give up - we are going to return to the issue of partnership and resubmit it”.
According to the Statute of the Seimas, if a submitted bill is not approved, it can be resubmitted after half a year. Theoretically, therefore, this could happen already in the autumn session.
Alluding this would be the case, Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, MP from Laisvės partija, said: “The fight for human rights is a journey and nobody has promised that it's going to be easy, but I'm very glad that we can have a dignified and constructive discussion, and I'm sure that we're moving forward.”