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2020.03.03 16:00

Gay marriage ruling to foster 'Western-level tolerance', says Lithuanian top court

BNS2020.03.03 16:00

After Lithuania's top court recognised a same-sex marriage undertaken abroad, the president of Lithuania's Constitutional Court hopes this will lead to "Western-level tolerance" in the country.

The Constitutional Court ruled in November last year that Lithuania had to issue a residence permit to a foreign male who entered into marriage with a same-sex Lithuanian citizen.

Read more: Lithuanian same-sex couples struggle with equal access to financial services

"There can be no constitutionally justified basis to discriminate people, for example, only on the basis of their sexual identity andsexual orientation," Dainius Žalimas, president of Lithuania's Constitutional Court, said on Tuesday when presenting the court's yearly report.

Lithuania doesn't recognise same-sex marriages.

According to Žalimas, the Constitutional Court also said that a democratic state has to respect every person's dignity "irrespective of the majority's dominant values or stereotypes" in the country.

"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," he said.

"This ruling of the Constitutional Court can be a strong basis to foster Western-level tolerance in Lithuania," added Žalimas.

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.

Read more: Countries without same-sex marriage saw rise in homophobia, study shows