Latvia Votes to put Anti-gay Hate at the Heart of its Constitution
The Republic of Latvia has voted to define family solely as “a union of a male and female person”, excluding the country’s countless loving LGBT+ families.
On Thursday (14 January) the Latvian parliament, or Saeima, voted 47-25 for an amendment to the constitution stipulating that a family unit consists of a marriage between a woman and a man.
Section 110 of the constitution will now read: “The state protects and supports marriage – a union between a man and a woman, a family based on marriage, blood relation or adoption, the rights of parents and a child, including the right to grow up in a family based on a mother (woman) and father (man).”
The vote came in response to a pro-LGBT+ ruling last year by the constitutional court which confirmed that parents in a family can also be same-sex, and imposed on the state the “obligation to protect and support” them as well.
But National Alliance leader Raivis Dzintars declared that the court had violated its powers, creating a “definition of a family that is not acceptable to the general public in Latvia”.
“Latvia is a democratic country with a diversity of views and respect for every citizen. But at the same time, there are values that have been especially close and even sacred to our nation and its culture for hundreds of years,” he told Skaties.
“One of these values is the understanding of the family, which is based on the father and mother – man and woman – and their children. Until now, such an understanding seemed self-evident, but with the decision of the constitutional court it is questioned.”
The decision represents a huge setback for the Latvian LGBT+ community, and yet another troubling example of the anti-LGBT+ rhetoric sweeping across eastern Europe.
“Today’s vote in the Latvian Parliament threw us back to the times when being an openly homophobic politician was a thing to be proud of,” tweeted activist Kristine Garina of the European Pride Organisers Association.
“Forty-seven members of the parliament voted YES to proceed with ‘same-sex families are not families’ statement to be added to the constitution.”
Latvian politician Marija Golubeva described the move as a “call for discrimination” and an attempt to separate families into right and wrong.
“Support for these changes is a mockery of the principles of a democratic state, and I call for their rejection,” she urged the parliament.