Latvia challenged on partnership recognition

Earlier this month the Latvian Parliament dismissed a petition calling for the introduction of partnership legislation which would recognise all unmarried couples, including same-sex couples.

This is the second time the Saeima rejected such an initiative.

The European Parliament has responded today with members of the LGBTI Intergroup writing to the Members of the Government of Latvia, and the Speaker of the Saeima to express their concern, and enquire about what Latvia will do in the future to give the protection and recognition that all families deserve in Latvia, including same-sex couples.

The signatories are the six co-vice presidents of the Intergroup – the parliament’s working group on LGBTI equality issues – representing all the main party groups in the European Parliament.

Honourable Members of the Government of Latvia,

Honourable Speaker of the Saeima of Latvia,

 

We were disconcerted to learn the dismissal of a petition for Cohabitation legislation by the Saeima of Latvia on 7 March 2018.

Currently in Latvia, thousands of families are not recognised under the law. Unmarried couples are denied the same rights as married couples. They do not have state protection, are excluded from inheritance rights and cannot benefit from tax incentives – unlike their married fellow citizens. Allowing civil partnership or cohabitation is a matter of fundamental rights and equality.

Beyond discrimination, the lack of legal protection for unmarried couples is making their everyday lives extremely difficult. When something happens to their partner, they cannot for example make medical decisions on behalf of their partners or benefit from official visiting rights

To this date, 22 Members States of the European Union have recognised equal rights in the form of civil partnership, cohabitation or marriage. Over 10,000 citizens have signed the petition for Cohabitation Legislation for all families. By dismissing it, Latvia is missing an opportunity to bring its legislation in line with the reality of families in its territory.

In light of the above, we would like to enquire about what Latvia will do in the future to give the protection and recognition that all families deserve in Latvia, including same-sex couples.

 

On behalf of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights,

Terry Reintke MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup           

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

Malin Bjork MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

Tanja Fajon MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

Sirpa Piettikainen MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup