Court in Latvia recognises «existence of public legal relationships» of same-sex couples

Although the first sentence of Section 110 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia makes it clear that «the State shall protect and support marriage – a union between a man and a woman, the family, the rights of parents and rights of the child» – the Administrative District Court has made the first ruling in the country that satisfies a plea from a same-sex couple and recognises «existence of public legal relationships» of same-sex couples, admitting that the plaintiffs are in a relationship that fits the definition listed in Section 110 of the Constitution.
In the ruling, the court interpreted the definition of the aforementioned section of the Constitution and referenced conclusions from the Constitutional Court and the Senate. According to them, the definition of a family may include same-sex couples if the personal relationship between them is based strongly on understanding and mutual respect.
As previously explained by the Supreme Court – the state has a positive duty to provide same-sex families the opportunity to legally register their family relationship and be considered an official family in the eyes of the state. In a situation when there is no special mechanism for public recognition of such family relations, the court, having reviewed a plea of this kind, needs to determine if the relationship between the plaintiffs meets the definition outlined in Section 110 of the Constitution.
Reviewing the case, the court concluded that the state has yet to do its duty – neither the Law on Registration of Civil Status Acts nor any other law includes legal regulations to allow the registration of the relationship. The review of Saeima’s Civil Union Law has made it to the second reading so far.
Therefore, «to ensure effective implementation of the Constitution and human rights», the court, considering he plaintiff’s freely and directly expressed desire to maintain mutual family relations, decided to satisfy their plea.
The ruling is subject to appeal at the Administrative Regional Court within a month of its announcement.