VILNIUS – Last year's ruling on the status of same-sex marriages performed abroad will help to foster the Western level of tolerance in Lithuania, Dainius Zalimas, president of Lithuania's Constitutional Court, hopes.
He highlighted the case on Tuesday while presenting the court's annual report.
The Constitutional Court ruled last year that Lithuania had to issue a residence permit to a male foreigner who entered into marriage with the same-sex Lithuanian citizen, despite the fact that Lithuania does not recognize homosexual marriages.
According to Zalimas, the Constitutional Court also reminded that a democratic state has to respect every man's dignity "irrespective of the majority's dominant values or stereotypes during a specific period".
"There can be no constitutionally-justified basis to discriminate people, for example, only on the basis of their sexual identity and (or) sexual orientation," Zalimas said in the report's lead-in.
"The Constitutional Court also underlined that, differently from the constitutional concept of marriage, the constitutional concept of family is gender-neutral, therefore, one cannot ban a family from reuniting, taking into account the gender of spouses or partners. This ruling of the Constitutional Court can be a strong basis to foster Western-level tolerance in Lithuania," the president said.
The Catholic Church of Lithuania later criticized the Constitutional Court, saying that it deepened divisions between marriage and family and made a step towards making homosexual relations equal to family.