President signs controversial family bill into law
Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė signed the controversial Law on the Strengthening of the Family on Friday.
According to a press release from the presidential press service, Grybauskaitė signed the law "after hearing and discussing various opinions, as well as seeing that the final version of the Law on the Strengthening of the Family adopted by the Seimas does not discriminate single mothers and fathers, unmarried couples with children and other persons who are not linked with close family relations."
The president had received calls to sign and to veto the law passed by the parliament a few weeks ago. Non-governmental organizations campaigning for the law said it was necessary for long-term and coordinated family policy, while critics said it could discriminate certain groups.
The law was adopted a few weeks ago with 60 votes in support, five votes against and nine abstentions. The law should take effect in March of 2018.
According to the preamble of the law , "a family is formed by free will of man and woman to take on moral and legal duties characteristic of a family ," and "the complementarity of man and woman is the base of a family as the primary and inherent community and an environment for raising, development and education of children."
The law envisages establishing new institutions, namely, a National Family Council and a Family Policy Commission, as well as municipal family councils for shaping and implementation of family policy.