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Sunday, 18 September 2011

In Lithuania, a bigoted debate on immigration rights of gays, Muslims

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Source: TRACE

The Seimas [Lithuanian parliament] fears that following adoption of the Law on the Legal Status of Foreigners Lithuania will be open to married Muslims with four wives and gay couples. The presentation of the draft of this law was therefore suspended on Tuesday and the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Seimas was assigned to assess the constitutionality of the draft. 

The compliance of the draft of the law with the Constitution caused doubts in most members of the Seimas, and 82 MPs therefore voted in favour of the assessment of the draft law by the committee.

As reported by portal,  the debate in the Seimas was provoked by a provision of the proposed law under which the concept of a family member who may arrive to Lithuania under facilitated conditions includes a spouse or a party with whom a registered partnership agreement was finalised.

MP Rimantas Jonas Dagys stated that this definition of family will enable ‘Muslims with four wives and same sex spouses’ to come to Lithuania. "Why are we trying to, de facto, legalise this extended understanding of the family, disregarding the fact that our Constitution does not allow this?" was the question Dagys addressed to Interior Minister Raimundas Palaitis, who presented the draft law to the parliament.

According to the minister, these concerns of MPs are ungrounded. According to him, the concept of family will not be extended if foreigners are provided with an opportunity to bring their family members whose family status is legalised in their home country. He stated that Lithuania needs to pass the law as soon as possible, because we are already delaying the transfer of EU directives providing for freer movement of persons to Lithuanian legislation.
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