RIGA - The Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that the regulation that does not allow for an absence leave for same-sex partner of child's mother after birth of the child is unconstitutional.
The case has been initiated on the basis of an application by a private individual. A child was born to a same-sex couple, after which the mother's partner wished to exercise the right to a leave of ten calendar days, as provided for by Section 155 of the Labor Law. However, the mentioned provision only grants this right to a child’s father, but not to the female partner of a child’s birth mother, even though in the given situation she is actually one of the new-born child’s parents.
The applicant of the claim said that the system that was established in the state is historically only meant to ensure social protection of opposite-sex partners and their children. Therefore, the contested provision allegedly infringes on the applicant’s fundamental rights as enshrined in the first sentence of Article 110 of the Constitution.
Lauris Liepa, a lawyer of LGBT rights group Mozaika, said that a discriminating attitude to same-sex partners with children is unacceptable because both partners in the union should be considered the child's parents.
During hearing of the case, Saeima voiced a stance that the contested norm is in compliance with the Constitution. Representatives of the Saeima and the Justice Ministry said that, according to the law, there is only one parent in same-sex couples.
Welfare Ministry's representative Maris Badovskis said that the state has no duty to ensure ten-day leave for a person who is not the father of the child.
Meanwhile, Ombudsman's Office representative Laila Gravere said that the issue should be viewed broader than just in respect to same-sex couples. If a child has no father, or father due to some reason is not able to support the mother and the child, the law should entitle the rights for the leave to another person.