RIGA, December 18, 2005 – Gay and
lesbian activists have launched an online petition calling on the Latvian
president not to sign the constitutional amendment that would define
marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Last week, the amendment passed its
third and final reading in the Latvian Parliament.
And now, activists are asking gays
and lesbians worldwide to sign the online petition.
“Today we launched an online
petition in Latvian and English to call on the Latvian President not to sign
the constitutional amendment and send it back to the parliament for
revision,” the activists said in a joint statement issued today.
“According to Article 71 of the
Latvian Constitution, the President can, within 10 days from the adoption at
the Parliament, not to sign a law adopted by the parliament and send it back
The activists take the line that
the constitutional amendment is legally pointless, is motivated by
homophobia, is discriminatory and is a result of a populist political “game”
by the First Party of Latvia.
“Same-sex marriage is already
banned in Article 35.2 of the Civil Law,” they point out.
Immediately following the adoption
of the amendment by Parliament, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said that the
amendment “has a declarative substance” and is not targeted against a
possibility of same-sex partnerships.
She said she believed that the
constitutional amendment does not limit same-sex relationships since the
amendment does not prevent an introduction of a registered partnership
institution for same-sex partners, pointing out that ‘marriage’ and
‘partnership’ are two different terms.
President Vike-Freiberga also
expressed doubt that the constitutional amendment will strengthen the
institution of marriage.
During the debates on the
constitutional amendment she did not encourage its adoption and said that
the parliamentarians should not to be guided by emotions.
The constitutional amendment was
initiated by the First Party of Latvia, whose members have publicly
explained that they do not want Latvia ever to become one of those countries
which legally recognise relationships between the persons of the same
“The only motivation for the First
Party of Latvia has been homophobia,” activists say. “The party uses
Latvia's lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals to play hateful and
“Please help us to persuade our
President that this homophobic constitutional amendment is pointless and
needs to be stopped now,” the joint statement concludes.
The online petition is available at:
http://pret.diskriminaciju.esmu.es and is in both
Latvian and English. Note that only a valid e-mail address can be used.
Once signed, a code will be sent to this e-mail address to validate your
signature – and to send your letter to the President of Latvia.
Of Gay and Lesbian Marriage, Partnership or Unions Worldwide.
From the Netherlands in 1979 to the UK's new law effective today, all the
legislation - strong and weak - that recognises same-sex partnerships to
some degree or another.
(UK Gay News, December 5, 2005)
TV Personality Criticises Latvian Parliament As Euro-MPs Have Their Say.
From an “out gay” television personality in Latvia to Members of the
European Parliament, there has been continued criticism of Latvia's Saeima (Parliament) following the third and final
reading of the Constitutional Amendment that will define “marriage” as being
between a man and a woman. (UK Gay News, December 15, 2005)
Latvia Cements Homophobia Into Constitution As Gay
Marriage is Banned. The Latvia Parliament has adopted a
constitutional change that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.
This will prevent any possibility for gay marriage in the future. This morning, 65 MPs voted in
favour of the change at the amendment’s third – and final – reading in
Parliament. (UK Gay News, December 15, 2005)
Latvia Moving Backwards, Say Gay and Lesbian Intergroup of MEPs. Two leading Members of the European
Parliament’s gay and lesbian rights ‘Intergroup’ have today expressed
“serious concern” on the increased homophobia in Latvia. (UK Gay News,
December 6, 2005)
Put on Gay Marriage by Latvian Parliament.
A change in the constitution that will define marriage as being between a
man and a woman, and blocks the way for “gay marriage”, became a virtual
certainty today when the 100-seat Latvian parliament passed the proposal
with a massive majority in the amendment’s second reading. (UK Gay News,
December 1, 2005)
Gays in Latvia Have an Official Watchdog.
A new independent department that will keep an eye on discrimination
has been set-up by the government in
Latvia. And the National
Human Rights Office will be embracing the gay and lesbian community
as well as other sections of society as well as racism and other
forms of discrimination. (UK Gay News, November 30, 2005)