Family law: Critics dismiss as declarative, supporters speak demography
A family strengthening bill is making headway in Lithuania's parliament, a law that opponents dismiss as a selection of declarations, while initiators say that the law is needed to shape the country's family policies.
At the Tuesday's plenary, the bill was voted 63 MPs against five, with 14 abstentions. The law is just a vote short of adoption. The law was proposed during the 2012-2016 Seimas term by 55 parliamentarians from the group of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and other groups.
Social Democratic MP Algirdas Sysas, chairman of the parliamentary Social Affairs and Labor Committee, was against the bill, saying that financial instruments, not declarations should encourage families to have more children. "As I would put it, the law contains a lot of vapor and fog but very little specifics," Sysas said ironically.
Meanwhile, conservative MP Rimantas Jonas Dagys, one of the persons behind the bill, stated that "such umbrella law has been needed for a long time, as the demographic consequences are the result of our negligence of the field (of family policy)." In his words, the law will feature "a link with the budget."
Initiators of the bill during the last Seimas tenure say it had been drafted in response to the worsening demographic situation, saying that the document should define the state policy for families, furthermore, suggest establishing new institutions, namely, a National Family Council and a Family Policy Commission.
According to the preamble of the bill, "a family is formed by free will of a man and a woman to take on moral and legal duties characteristic of a family," and "the complementarity of a man and a woman is the base of a family as the primary and inherent community and an environment for raising, development and education of children."