RIGA 's In the final reading today, Parliament approved amendments to the labor law, deleting a ban on employee discrimination based on the grounds of sexual orientation. Parliament's social and labor affairs committee had previously prepared the amendments in accordance with European Union requirements, including the said ban.
After more than an hour of debate, Parliament approved a proposal by Latvia's First Party (LPP) lawmaker Janis Smits to formally change the law without altering its contents. As a result, the ban will not be included in the law.
According to Parliament, labor law rights are provided for all Latvian residents, banning any direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, age, disability, religious, political or other beliefs, national or social origin, material or family status and other circumstances.
Independent lawmaker Aleksandrs Kirsteins said that if such amendments were supported then "exhibitionists might as well work as traffic managers or Freedom Monument guards, and why should zoophiles not be allowed to work in animal shelters?"
Smits cited the Bible and gay manifesto, pointing out what could be expected if such amendments are approved. According to Smits' words, it would "open the gate for pedophilia, pederasty and other kinds of perversion."
Parliament speaker Ingrida Udre said that discrimination against any person should be banned, including the traditional categories. She noted that the existing law already bans any kind of discrimination. New Era lawmaker Ingrida Circene said that human rights cannot be bound by any kind of discrimination. Dzintars Abikis from People's Party said that "taking into account the large number of people emigrating from Latvia, it would not be sensible to deny working rights to directors, journalists or artists."
The amendments were supported by LPP, Fatherland and Freedom (FF)/LNNK, Greens and Farmers Union, Harmony Center lawmakers and independent lawmakers Maris Gulbis, Inara Ostrovska, Aleksandrs Kirsteins and New Time lawmaker Inguna Ribena. People's Party, New Era and some Harmony Center lawmakers were against the decision and some New Era, For Human Rights in United Latvia (PCTVL) and People's Party lawmakers abstained.