Recognition of same-sex unions in Latvia

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Legal status of same-sex unions
  1. Marriages performed in some municipalities and recognized by the state
  2. For some purposes only
  3. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage
  4. When performed in the Netherlands proper

* Not yet in effect

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Latvia does not recognize same-sex unions, either in the form of partnership or marriage.


On 23 September 1999, the Latvian National Human Rights Office presented a registered partnership bill to the Saeima. On 28 September 1999, the proposal was sent to the Human Rights and Public Affairs Commission of the Saeima for discussion.[1][2] On 30 November 1999, the commission rejected the bill.[3]

In January 2012, the Ombudsman's Office (the renamed National Human Rights Office since 2007) recommended to the Parliament to not introduce same-sex registered partnerships.[4] However, after Baltic Pride in June 2012, it was revealed that the Ministry of Justice was considering whether to recognise same-sex partnerships, either through unregistered cohabitation or registered partnership. Defence Minister Artis Pabriks indicated his support of registered partnerships.[5] Mozaika, Latvia's largest gay rights organisation, predicted that it would take approximately five years to obtain enough political support to pass the bill.[6]

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Foreign marriages recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.

In November 2014, while commenting on the declaration by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs that he is gay and on his call for recognition of same-sex relationships, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma reaffirmed her support for the constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage. She also admitted that "Latvian law has not yet resolved the question of partner-relationships", explaining that non-recognition of unmarried couples affects many in Latvia regardless of sexual orientation and that protection of such families needed to be discussed by both the community and the Saeima.[7]

On 30 January 2015, Veiko Spolītis, a Member of Parliament for Straujuma's Unity party submitted a bill to modify the Civil Code to provide for partnerships. The proposed law would allow "any two persons" to register their partnership and have almost the same rights and obligations as married couples.[8][9] The proposal was rejected by the Legal Affairs Committee on 24 February 2015.[10][11]

On 23 March 2015, For Latvia's development chairperson, Juris Pūce, launched a signature collection campaign on for the adoption of a Cohabitation Law in Latvia.[12] The draft bill states that registration of couples’ cohabitation intentions would secure equal rights to all members of society regardless of gender.



In December 2005, the Saeima voted 65-5 to approve an amendment to the constitution, banning same-sex marriage.[13]

Legal challenges[edit]

On 27 May 2016, the Constitutional Court of Latvia overturned an administrative court decision to refuse an application to register a same-sex marriage in the country. A Supreme Court press spokeswoman said that the court agrees with the administrative court that current regulations do not allow for same-sex marriages to be legally performed in Latvia. However, the matter should have been considered in a context not of marriage, but of registering familial partnership. Furthermore it would have been impossible to conclude whether the applicants' rights weren't violated unless their claim is accepted and reviewed in a proper manner.[14] The Supreme Court will now decide whether the refusal was in breach of the Latvian Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

See also[edit]


  4. ^ (Latvian) Letter No. 1-8/4 to parliamentary committees on human rights and legal affairs by the Ombudsman J. Jansons 26 January 2012
  5. ^ (Latvian) "Pabriks: Latvijas likumdošanu nevar balstīt uz stereotipiem un idejām par politikas un baznīcas vienotību". 2 June 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  6. ^ (Latvian) ""Mozaīka" prognozē partnerattiecību likuma pieņemšanu tuvākajā piecgadē". 7 May 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  7. ^ (Latvian) "Straujuma: Latvijā jārada tiesisks regulējums visu veidu partnerattiecībām". 7 November 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  8. ^ (Latvian) "Saeimā iesniedz priekšlikumu par partnerattiecību legalizāciju". Latvijas Sabiedriskie mediji. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Latvian Parliament to consider gender neutral partnership law in 2015". Gay Star News. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  10. ^ (Latvian) "Noraida Spolīša rosinājumu ieviest dzimumneitrālu partnerattiecību institūtu". Latvijas Sabiedriskie mediji. 24 February 2015. 
  11. ^ (Latvian) "Saeimā noraida rosinājumu ieviest dzimumneitrālu partnerattiecību institūtu". TV NET. 24 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Coalition sceptical about approving Cohabitation law". BNN. 24 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Latvia cements gay marriage ban". BBC. December 15, 2005. 
  14. ^ "Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage request will be considered". Public broadcasting of Latvia. 27 May 2016.