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Latvia cruelly votes to put homophobic hate at the heart of its constitution

Emma Powys Maurice January 14, 2021
Latvia

Latvia has changed its law to exclude same-sex couples from the definition of 'family' (Envato)

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.

 

More: Europe, Latvia, lgbt families, same sex couples

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