VILNIUS - Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis hopes Latvia's recent decision to legalize same-sex partnerships will have an impact on the Lithuanian parliament as the latter is set to hold the final vote on the matter.
"I do want to believe that this will allow, or at least raise additional questions for colleagues in the Seimas, to reflect on the fact that this is a human rights issue," the leader of the ruling conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats told reporters on Friday.
"Lithuania is a human rights state, and the restoration of its own state is based on the rule of law and human rights principles. Therefore, those principles must be applied equally to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or other aspects," he said.
He made the remarks after the Latvian parliament adopted on Thursday a package of laws on the establishment of partnerships. The changes will apply to same-sex couples as well and they will be able to legalize and register their relationship. Partnerships will be registered in Latvia from mid-2024.
Earlier this year, the Estonian parliament passed a law that will allow two adults to marry from January, regardless of their gender.
"Obviously, we are the only Baltic country left, with Estonia and Latvia moving into the Nordic bloc, leaving Lithuania on the other side," Landsbergis said.
In Lithuania, both male-female or same-sex partnerships are not legal. Previous votes in the Seimas on the issue failed.
In May, the Seimas approved by a margin of several votes a civil union bill that would legalize same-sex partnerships. Lawmakers still need to vote the final time on this bill.
Landsbergis says he will "certainly find" an opportunity to refer to the Latvian decision when speaking to his colleagues.
"I want to believe, I have hope, that maybe the next parliament will come even closer to this issue and we will end up at least among the Nordic countries on the human rights issue," he said.
Asked whether his statement meant he doubted that the decision would be made by the existing parliament, Landsbergis said that "the political parties that have it in their program should be asked about this".
The partnership issue is being actively pushed by the Freedom Party, part of the ruling block in Lithuania. Its representatives vow to put the issue to the final vote later this parliament session.