RIGA, December 21, 2005 –
The President of Latvia, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, has signed the
constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a
Latvia becomes the first country in Europe to have an
anti-gay clause in its constitution.
The announcement came this afternoon shortly after a
meeting between the President and the Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis of the
Latvia First Party.
In a statement, the President pointed out that the
change to the constitution did not alter anything as marriage was already
defined in civil law as being between a man and a woman.
one had in mind that by adding such requirement to the constitution it will
guarantee that it will stay there for ever and all the time, then it is of
course an illusion – a wrong hope,” she said.
The President then pointed out that Parliament can
amend the amendment whenever it wants.
“Honestly speaking, I, as a president, cannot see clearly the benefit of
this amendment to the nation. However since indeed it does not change
anything in substance for the better neither for the worst, I do not see any
reason not to sign it,”
the President said.
“I would also like to stress that this constitutional amendment in no way
introduces any discriminatory requirements towards gays and lesbians.”
then went of to comment on the debate in Parliament.
“The debates which took place in the Saeima [parliament] when discussing
this amendment, in my view, very often demonstrated very explicit
intolerance and explicit homophobia,” she said.
can have their own religious beliefs, their own understanding of what is sin
and what is not, what is appropriate and what is not appropriate behaviour.
as a president, I would like to remind, that in a democratic nation as we
are, a private life is separated form a public sphere and what people do in
their intimacy is no one’s business, unless it contradicts our laws.
is equal in their rights. I also would like to ask people not come out with
extreme statements which encourage and promote hate, prejudice and which
humiliate and devalue those thinking or living differently.
all want to enjoy freedom provided by our constitution and our democracy.
Please, let us be tolerant towards other people’s freedom of choice,”
Note: The official English language translation
from the President's office will be available tomorrow (December 22) on the
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)
Gays Call on President to Press for Legal Same-Sex Partnership:
Epiphany of Homophobia in Latvian Politics. A
last-ditch plea to the Latvian President from a group of European Members of
Parliament failed to alter her decision to sign the constitutional amendment
defining marriage as being between a man and a woman which was passed last
week by the Latvian parliament. (UK Gay News, December 21, 2005)
‘Gay Marriage’ Decision Expected Today. Latvian Radio is reporting that
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga might be
announcing today her decision on the proposed constitutional amendment that
defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. (UK Gay News, December
Latvian Gays Seek International Support for Petition to President. 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. (UK Gay News, December 18)
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)