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Respect the family life of Lithuanians, an application to the ECHR

30 03 2013

I ask the European Court of Human Rights to recognise that prohibitions of adoption by same-sex couples and close relatives violate the rights of many Lithuanians to respect of their family life and non-discrimination.

In the autumn of 2012, I was shocked when the Lithuanian media published the latest statistical data about the demographical situation in Lithuania. There are 200 thousand more women than men in Lithuania.

This means that roughly 13 percent of Lithuanian women and every sixth female city inhabitant are fated to have no male husband. As same-sex marriages are prohibited in Lithuania, these women are doomed not to have any officially recognised family and not to be permitted to adopt children.

Hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians are doomed to have no family
a lonely child

On the other hand, there are about 10 thousand children being brought up in orphanages in Lithuania at the same time, not to speak about raging emigration – 7 percent of the total population have emigrated from Lithuania only in the last 4 years!

Therefore, I decided to go to the courts and to try to make the so-called Republic of Lithuania recognise the right of all Lithuanians to have a family – including the lonely women, gays, asexuals, familyless children, etc.

The Constitution of Lithuania charges the Government with a duty to support family, motherhood and fatherhood; however, the Constitution is but a scrap of paper when speaking about the rights of rank and file Lithuanians – Lithuanian courts simply refuse to apply its solemnly sounding norms.

Therefore, I decided to resort first of all to articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. So when the courts I went to in Lithuania quickly dismissed my requests, I’m trying it in the European Court of Human Rights.

An application to the ECHR

I have written my application in Lithuanian because I had to quote many Lithuanian normative acts. Here I show all the original pages of my application (some of my personal data is concealed) and my (not official) translations of all the essential parts of it.

There is a problem with my case because I had no male partner to apply together with me for a permission to marry or adopt a child and I had to request directly to annul the laws that prohibit marriages between same-sex persons and close relatives and adoptions by non-spouses.

However, the ECHR has stated many times that the very existence of laws that infringe human rights or basic freedoms set forth in the Convention is in breach of it.

Anyway, I intend at least to air in Europe the horrible situation with human rights in Lithuania that has made (only officially) almost 20 percent of Lithuanians ☼ to flee their homeland just in a little more than 20 years of its independence.

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Statement of the Facts, part 14.

In the autumn of 2012, I finally realised that I will never have children if I do nothing for it. I was then 41, so I understood that I would most probably never meet such a woman with whom we both would want to have children or at least to marry and adopt a child – adoption is permitted only for married couples in Lithuania. I thought that I probably could adopt a child with another man or my cousin; however, I found out that it was prohibited by the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania (further, the Civil Code).

In the same autumn, the results of a statistical survey over the demographical situation in Lithuania were published in the Lithuanian media. There were 200 thousand more women than men in Lithuania. That meant that only statistically about 7 percent of all the inhabitants of Lithuania, 13 percent of women, every sixth female city resident were destined not to have any male partner. As Lithuanian law prohibits same-sex marriages, all these women were in fact doomed not to have marriage-based families and not to be able to adopt children – they were deprived of their right to have a family even more than I because statistics clearly favour me as a man.

Thus I decided to take a look at the valid Lithuanian law, and I found out that formally my basic right to family life, as well as such rights of all the persons who cannot find a spouse of opposite sex, is guaranteed by both the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (further, the Constitution) and by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (further, the Convention). I also established that Lithuania had committed itself to ensure to the extent possible every child’s right to have a family (life in family is recognised to be optimal for the well-being of children ) by signing the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Both the Constitution and the Convention assure my right to defend my basic rights that are guaranteed by them in the court of law. Thus I decided to get to court and demand to repeal the articles of the Civil Code that in my opinion illegally infringe the right of me, and all my compatriots who cannot have children with persons of opposite sex, and the Lithuanian children who do not have a family to respect to our family life.

On the 9th of November 2012, I submitted a request to the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (annex (a)) to suspend the validity of the articles 3.7, 3.12, 3.17, and 3.210 of the Civil Code, which prohibit marriages between persons of the same sex and close relatives and adoption by non-spouses. As revoking of laws in court is possible only by recognising them as violating international conventions or (and) the Constitution while private persons do not possess the right to go directly to the Constitutional Court in Lithuania, I asked the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court to follow the standard constitutional procedure and to ask the Constitutional Court to investigate the compliance of the above-mentioned articles with the Convention and the Constitution. I asked to annul those articles of the Civil Code as violating the right to respect of the family life of all who cannot or do not manage to find a partner of opposite sex. I also referred to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, that sets up an obligation for the High Contracting Parties to take care for child well-being.

Soon I received a court order signed on the 16th November 2012 by the judge Gintaras Dzedulionis, which established a 10-day-term for eliminating shortcomings of my request. (annex (b)) On the 23th of November 2012, I submitted the second, corrected version of the request, written according to the court’s instructions. (annex (c)) Because the judge informed me that I can defend only my personal rights, I specifically asked to recognise that the articles 3.7, 3.12, 3.17 and 3.210 of the Civil Code violate concretely my rights guaranteed in article 8 of the Convention and in many articles of the Constitution. As in the first version of my request, I asked the court to ask the Constitutional court to decide whether the aforementioned articles of the Civil Code contradict certain articles of the Constitution and both conventions.

After a couple of weeks, I got a court decision by Gintaras Dzedulionis of refusal to accept my request. (annex (d)) The judge informed me that Lithuanian courts do not accept such requests. In his words, ‘In its order on rectification of the request the court noted that the applicant is entitled to demand the court to refer his request concerning the legitimacy of the articles in consideration of the Civil Code to the Constitutional Court only during a hearing of an individual case according to the applicants request, asking the court engaged to refer to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania about a normative act that should be applied in such individual case. The applicant has not made use of such possibility.’ (annex (d), p. 2)

On the 18th of December, I submitted an appeal to the Supreme Administrative court of Lithuania. (annex (e)) Referring to articles 8 and 13 of the Convention and to many articles of the Constitution, I asked the court to oblige the Vilnius Region Administrative Court to start the hearing of my case or pass it to another court it would consider appropriate for it or at least to indicate such a court. I think that I provided sufficient proof that I really could not apply for permission for marriage or adoption with my close relative or a person of opposite sex. There are deep traditions of contempt of human rights in Lithuania, maintained by the Government and courts of law. The people who do not follow the harsh outlook on family and private life of the Lithuanian Catholic Church are intimidated and bullied in every way, even at the Supreme Court of Lithuania. Therefore, by submitting with me a formal request for permission for marriage or adoption, other man or my close relative not only would ask for what is categorically prohibited by law, but also would put himself at risk to experience bullying, psychological and possibly physical violence, or even lose his job or destroy his life in some other way – and all this just for a vague possibility that the European Court of Human Rights would recognise that he was discriminated! As I would never risk destinies and possibly the health or even lives of my close people, I was forced to go to the courts alone. (I present more arguments on it in part 18 of this request.)

On the 30th of January 2013, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania decided to dismiss my appeal without countering my arguments. In my opinion, the court did not answer my questions confining itself with only one meaningful phrase: ‘the refusal of the first instance court to accept applicant’s complaint does not detract from him his possibility to argue the legality of the Civil Code’s articles by first bringing to court an individual case challenging concrete acts based on the challenged Civil Code and in that case asking to refer to the Constitutional Court in relation to the Civil Code’s correspondence to the Constitution or to use other possibilities to come to the Constitutional Court.’ (annex (f), p. 5) Thus Lithuanian courts just refused to implement my rights set forth in articles 8 and 13 of the Convention (leave alone the Constitution); the Supreme Administrative Court in fact indicated that my request not to prevent the realisation of my basic rights guaranteed by the Convention is not hearable at all in the courts of the Republic of Lithuania.

As there is no other national legal means I can use to request the Republic of Lithuania to observe the right to respect of the family life of me, the children who are raised up in Lithuanian orphanages, and the other persons who for various reasons cannot create a family with a person of opposite sex, I decided to go to the European Court of Human Rights (further, the Court or the ECHR). I request the Court to recognise that the aforementioned articles of the Civil Code violate the rights of respect to family life and non-discrimination of me and other aforementioned persons and that the Lithuanian courts that dismissed my request and appeal violated my rights set up not only in articles 8 and 14, but also in article 13 of the Convention. I will later put forward concrete arguments in support of my opinion that the legal doctrine of the ECHR entitles me to challenge the very existence of the laws that violate my rights.

The state institutions of the Republic of Lithuania usually just ignore both the human rights set up in the Convention and concrete decisions of the Court (as in the case Paksas v. Lithuania). However, a favourable Court’s decision could give at least some moral support to many rightless Lithuanians and the defenders of human rights in Lithuania. Even if the Court decides not to accept my request or to turn it down for any reason, I will try to use the very fact of it and at least to draw the attention of those who are not indifferent to human rights in the European Union towards the conditions in which the children in orphanages and the people who have no partner of opposite sex live in Lithuania.

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Statement of alleged violation(s) of the Convention and/or Protocols and of relevant arguments — part 15.

I am certain that articles 3.7, 3.12, 3.17 and 3.210 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania, that prohibit marriages between same-sex persons and close relatives and adoptions for unmarried couples, violate the right guaranteed in article 8 of the Convention to respect to the family life of the persons who have no partner of opposite sex and of the children who are raised in orphanages. I also think that these articles of the Civil Code infringe the right of such children to non-discrimination on the grounds of social origin, birth or other status. In my opinion, the aforementioned articles concretely violate my right to respect to my family life set up in the article 8 of the Convention; I also think that this right of mine and my right that all my rights guaranteed by the Convention: ‘shall have an effective remedy before a national authority,’ as it is formulated in article 13, were violated by the Vilnius Region Administrative Court when it refused to accept my request and by the Supreme Administrative Court when it dismissed my appeal.

In my opinion, the very existence of the above-mentioned articles of the Civil Code violates the above-mentioned rights of mine, the Lithuanians in similar situations and the children who are raised in orphanages. I also think that I have both a right and a duty without any written or other warrant to defend the evidently violated rights of the children who are raised outside families.

Articles 3.7 and 3.12 of the Civil Code forbid same-sex marriages. Article 3.17 forbids marriages between close relatives. Article 3.210 of the Civil Code does not allow unmarried couples to adopt children.

3.7 The concept of marriage

1. Marriage is a voluntary agreement between a man and a women to create legal family relations. 2. Spouses are a man and a woman who have registered their marriage in the procedure established by the law.

3.12 Prohibition of same-sex marriage

Only marriage with a person of different sex is permitted.

3.17 Prohibition of marriage between close relatives

The marriages of parents with their children, step-parents with their step-children, grandparents with their grandchildren, half-brothers with half-sisters, cousins with cousins, uncles with nieces, aunts with nephews are prohibited.

3.210 Persons that have a right to adopt children

[...] 2. Only spouses have a right to adopt children. In exceptional cases, an unmarried person or one of spouses can be permitted to adopt. Unmarried persons cannot adopt the same child...

However, article 8 of the Convention states a duty of the High Contracting Parties to respect family life of the people. Article 13 of the Convention guarantees the right of Europeans to defend their basic rights in courts of law. Finally, article 14 of the ECHR establishes a right of everybody – including the children who are raised in orphanages and unable to defend their rights themselves – not to be discriminated on the grounds of sex, social origin, birth or other status when enjoying their rights set up in the Convention.

Article 8

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 13

Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.

Article 14

The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

I do not identify myself as gay, and I am not interested in legalising incest. However, I already feel being old – I am 42, and male life expectancy for Lithuanian is about 65. Soon adoption will become irresponsible for me. Therefore, I am considering a possibility to propose another man or my close relative to adopt a child together. However, I cannot actually even seriously consider and plan it because at the time being the Civil Code forbids both adoption for non-spouses and marriages between persons of same sex and close relatives. In the eyes of any potential partner of mine, any serious consideration of a possibility of marrying me or adopting together a child looks absurd because it is prohibited by Lithuanian law.

In my opinion, article 8 of the Convention sets forth an obligation for the High Contracting Parties to respect also the family life that is not based on sexual intecourse. I am convinced that those persons who are not able or do not manage to beget their biological children for physiological, ethical or other reasons also should have respected their rights to enjoy family life according to their capabilities and the opportunities that exist in the society at the moment. In the current stage of the technological and social development, there are many ways of helping people to have children, such as artificial fertilisation, surrogate mothers, not to speak about the possibility of adoption.

It should be noted that about 10 thousand children are raised up in orphanages in Lithuania. Their rights to respect of their family life are also being violated by making obstacles for their adoption. Judging by many reports in the Lithuanian media, it seems that there is a deep-rooted culture of embezzlement and disrespect for the rights of the children without families in Lithuanian state-owned orphanages. Shocking stories told by former inhabitants of orphanages have been aired by the media. It seems that children there can experience even torture, like beating with a brush handle at their hands and legs, holding by their hands and feet out from a window, months of long treatment with psychotropic drugs, etc. Depressed children seem to suffer not only from physical and psychological violence, but also from deprivation. For instance, a 7-year-old girl was decided to be sent to hospital from an orphanage only when her weight reached 5 (!) kilograms recently. Thus, there are sufficient grounds to assert that the Lithuanian system of children care is not capable of providing even for the very basic needs of the children.

I would like to draw attention that the current demographical situation in the Republic of Lithuania is catastrophic. Huge emigration – during the 23 years of independence, Lithuania only officially lost almost 20 percent of the population – there are 200 thousand more women than men. As polygamy is forbidden, approximately one of every 7 Lithuanian women is statistically fated not to have male life partner. In such a demographical situation and in present difficult economic and social circumstances, the current prohibition to adopt children for same-sex persons and close relatives seriously violates the rights to respect to the family life of tens of thousands of childless persons who would like to raise children and of the children that are kept in orphanages as well as their rights to non-discrimination on the grounds of opinion, social origin, birth or other status as set forth in articles 8 and 14 of the Convention.

As I understand, the Court has stressed many times that not only the children who are born in marriage and live with their biological parents deserve respect to their family life. For instance,

Again, the interest of an "illegitimate" child in having such a bond established is no less than that of a "legitimate" child. (Marckx v. Belgium, App. 6833/74, Judgment of 13 June, 1979.)

As noticed by the ECHR, a right to the satisfaction derived from enjoying the company of one’s child or parent constitutes an important part of the right to respect of one’s family life set forth in article 8 of the Convention.

The Court recalls that the mutual enjoyment by parent and child of each other’s company constitutes a fundamental element of family life and that domestic measures hindering such enjoyment amount to an interference with the right protected by Article 8 (art. 8) (see, amongst others, the McMichael v. the United Kingdom judgment of 24 February 1995, Series A no. 307-B, p. 55, para. 86). The impugned measures, as was not disputed, evidently amounted to interferences with the applicant’s right to respect for her family life as guaranteed by paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Convention (art. 8-1). Such interference constitutes a violation of this Article (art. 8) unless it is "in accordance with the law", pursues an aim or aims that are legitimate under paragraph 2 of Article 8 (art. 8-2) and can be regarded as "necessary in a democratic society". (Johansen v. Norway, App. 17383/90, Judgment of 7 August, 1996.)

I am convinced that none of the possible justifications for the interference by the Republic of Lithuania with the exercise of the right to respect of the family life of children and persons who have no partner of opposite sex is included among those that are listed in part 2 of article 8 of the Convention. The reverse is true, it is obvious that Lithuanian law inflicts huge damage to the national security and well-being of the country, the protection of health and morals. I would like to point out that in the case Marckx v. Belgium, the Court assigned even positive obligations to take care for family life to the High Contracting Parties.

By proclaiming in paragraph 1 the right to respect for family life, Article 8 (art. 8-1) signifies firstly that the State cannot interfere with the exercise of that right otherwise than in accordance with the strict conditions set out in paragraph 2 (art. 8-2). As the Court stated in the "Belgian Linguistic" case, the object of the Article is "essentially" that of protecting the individual against arbitrary interference by the public authorities (judgment of 23 July 1968, Series A no. 6, p. 33, para. 7). Nevertheless it does not merely compel the State to abstain from such interference: in addition to this primarily negative undertaking, there may be positive obligations inherent in an effective "respect" for family life. (Johansen v. Norway, App. 17383/90, Judgment of 7 August, 1996.)

As I understand, according to the Court’s legal doctrine, the High Contracting Parties must adapt their law to changing social environment; legal traditions cannot be used as an excuse for banning new popular forms of family life, especially if such forms are already legalised in other members of the Convention. Thence I think that the precedents of permission of same-sex marriages with a right of adoption in many European countries create additional legal grounds for me and other Lithuanians in similar situation to request respect to our family life to the same extent it is enjoyed by (for instance) Swedes and Spaniards.

I would like to notice that marriage (civil partnership is still illegal in Lithuania) is in fact the only way open for together living same-sex persons to receive state’s support for their family life. For instance, according to the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on pecuniary social support for indigent families and persons living alone, cohabiting same-sex persons are not at all considered as cohabiting persons.’

Cohabiting persons are spouses and their children (adoptees) up to 18; married person, with whom minor children (adoptees) are staying cohabiting according to a court decision related to separately living spouses; or one of the parents and his children (adoptees) up to 18; unmarried cohabiting adults or recognised as legally capable minors a man and a woman and their children (adoptees) up to 18...

Thus cohabiting same-sex persons are not entitled to enjoy state support for their family life as the state fulfils its ‘positive obligations’ according to the ECHR doctrine because they are deprived of the right to enjoy the advantages of the legal status of cohabiting persons unless they get married, which is also prohibited. It is clear that the rights set forth in articles 8 and 14 of the Convention of the persons who cannot, do no want, or do not manage to get any partner of opposite sex, especially those 200 thousand Lithuanian women who are statistically fated to have no husband, are seriously violated.


Therefore, I am convinced that:

1) Articles 3.7, 3.12, 3.17, and 3.210 of the Civil Code violate the right of the children who are raised in orphanages to respect to their right to respect to their family life, as it is set forth in article 8 of the Convention, and their right established in article 14 of the Convention to enjoy their human rights and basic freedoms without being discriminated on the grounds of social origin, birth or other status because the aforementioned articles of the Civil Code interdict adoption of such children in families other than referred to as ‘traditional“ on grounds that are not listed in part 2 of article 8 of the Convention. I request to recognise that I, as a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania, have a right to ask the Court to defend the rights of the Lithuanian children that are raised in orphanages although I have got no warrant for it.

2) Articles 3.7, 3.12, 3.17, and 3.210 of the Civil Code violate the right of the people who have no partner of opposite sex to respect for their family life as is set forth in article 8 of the Convention because these articles of the Civil Code prevent such persons from building up such families that they and the society can afford without legitimate justification in terms of part 2 of article 8 of the Convention. These articles of the Civil Code also violate the right of such persons not to be discriminated when enjoying the right to respect for their family life on the ground of gender, opinion, social origin, birth or other status as it is established in article 14 of the Convention, which is especially obvious in the case of the women who are statistically fated not to find any male partner.

3) Articles 3.7, 3.12, 3.17, and 3.210 of the Civil Code violate my right guaranteed in article 8 of the Convention to respect for my family life and that, having in mind the legal precedents established in such cases as Dudgeon v. United Kingdom, Norris v. Ireland and Modinos v. Cyprus, the very existence of the laws that violate my rights gives me a right to request the Court to recognise it.

4) The Vilnius Region Administrative Court and the Supreme Administrative Court have violated my right to respect for my family life, as it is set up in article 8 of the Convention, and my right to ‘an effective remedy before a national authority,’ as it is established in article 13 of the Convention by not accepting my request (annexes (c) and (d)) and dismissing my appeal (annexes (e) and (f)).

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Is there or was there any other appeal or other remedy available to you which you have not used? If so, explain why you have not used it. — part 18.

In my opinion, I have used all the remedies and appeals that are available in the Republic of Lithuania. As I understand, my actions can be criticised in 3 ways: concerning its form, the court I chose to go to and that I immediately requested to annul the articles of the Civil Code that infringe my rights instead of complaining about a concrete violation of my rights by state authorities (a refusal to register a marriage, or give permission for adoption, or likewise).

Possible reproaches that I chose an improper defendant – the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania – would be groundless because the court had a possibility – as set forth in part 4 of article 37 of the Law on the procedure of administrative cases – to change the defendant if it is necessary.

Similar situation is with the problem of correctness of my choice of court. If the court had decided that my request should have been submitted to the court of general jurisdiction, then it was obliged to pass my request to the proper court, as set forth in part 1 of article 21 of the Law on the procedure of administrative cases. None of the courts I went to did it. Concretely, I requested the Supreme Administrative Court:

If the Court decides that my request is not relevant to the Vilnius Region Administrative Court, please, pass it to the Court to which it (or at least the part of it concerning my personal rights) is relevant or at least indicate such Lithuanian court.

The court in fact limited itself to a notice that I could: ‘challenge the legality of the articles of the Civil Code by first of all bringing to court an individual case, challenging concrete acts performed on the grounds of the contested Civil Code, and in that case ask to refer to the Constitutional Court regarding the CC’s correspondence with the Constitution or take advantage of the other possibilities to get to the Constitutional Court provided by the law.’ Although the Supreme Administrative Court refused to answer clearly my concrete questions, I cannot interpret its order otherwise than as the final and indisputable decision that I could do anything more to challenge the existence of the articles of the Civil Code in question. I am not a lawyer; however, as I understand Lithuanian law, courts are obliged to indicate in which higher courts their orders can be disputed. Thus, no answer to my request to indicate how else I could defend my rights set forth in articles 8 and 13 of the Convention means that I can submit no appeal of cassation in this case. Anyway, the Supreme Court of Lithuania does not accept cassation appeals from non-lawyers.


I have no real possibility to request authorities to register marriage or issue a permission of adoption with a person of the same sex or my close relative because of the present horrible human rights situation in the Republic of Lithuania, and therefore I can just ask to revoke the laws that violate my rights

Thus the Lithuanian courts based their decision to dismiss my request on the only argument that I had directly asked to revoke the articles of the Civil Code that illegally infringe my rights although I am entitled only to challenge a refusal by some state authority to register a marriage or adopt with another man or my close relative. However, I have explained in my both requests (annexes (d) and (f)) why I cannot apply for registration of a marriage or permission for adoption. In my opinion, the courts incorrectly ignored my arguments.

There is no need to prove that adoption is not an easy action. First of all, prospective parents must provide certain living conditions for the child. They have to possess a dwelling of sufficient size and quality, steady incomes, and enough time that can be devoted to the child. I do not have this, neither do my potential partners – Lithuania is not a rich country. In order to adopt, we must find satisfactory jobs, obtain a proper habitation. I think it would take at least a year. Therefore, it would be absurd to prepare properly for adoption when Lithuanian law prohibits it. Although our rights to respect to our family life are formally protected by both the Constitution and the Convention, Lithuanian courts usually ignore them during hearings of the requests of ordinary people – 70 percent of Lithuanians mistrust courts of law completely. As the ECHR is not a fourth instance court, it is clear that we could only bluff in present situation. We could either officially ask for a permission for adoption despite not being properly prepared for that or request to register a marriage although this is not our principal aim. However, even that would be too risky for my potential partner because of widespread homophobia in Lithuania

First of all, I would like to draw attention that the Republic of Lithuania is not in fact a democratic state. Elections here obviously are neither free, nor equal, nor just (legal); the citizens have no right to challenge their results in courts of law. It is clear that there is a deep-rooted contempt for many human rights and basic freedoms that are set forth in the Convention. For instance, article 188 of the Code of the Criminal Process sets up a right of the investigative bodies to bypass the presumption of innocence, taunt and morally degrade suspects; article 51 of the Criminal Code establishes discrimination on the ground of language; Lithuanian courts pass criminal sentences punishing for ‘genocide’ persons who more than 50 years ago contributed to liquidation of the armed groups of the so called ‘Resistance’, members of which often participated in massacres of armless civilians and their families and other crimes against humanity.

There is a deep tradition in Lithuania to mock at those who do not follow the ethics declared by the Lithuanian Catholic Church. Catholic priests have many times publicly humiliated homosexual persons as well as the women who have had abortions and believers of other faiths and religions. In fact, Lithuanian law enforcing authorities do not pay attention even to the most evidently criminal activities of Catholic priests and groups that identify themselves as Catholics. Although the Lithuanian judiciary, obviously ignoring article 10 of the Convention, prosecutes those who peacefully protest against the Government and its policies, the police does not interfere when groups of belligerent Catholics terrorise people with different opinions or even resort to violence against them.

Because it is widely believed that the public support of the Catholic Church is of decisive importance for the results of any election, many Lithuanian politicians demonstrate their readiness to violate human rights and basic freedoms if it seems to please it. Practically all Lithuanian political parties declare their devotion to ‘Christian morality’, and it is clear that this is an indirect statement of their loyalty to the leaders of the Lithuanian Catholic Church. Therefore, although there is a formal prohibition to discriminate on the ground of sexual orientation or to encourage physical violence against homosexual persons, actually hatred against gay people is being continuously incited in all possible ways. It is worth to notice that demonising of homosexuality is of vital importance for the Catholic Church. As the massive evidence of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests recently revealed in the USA and Western Europe indicates, Catholic boys with homosexual inclinations are encouraged to feel ashamed of their homosexuality, hide it in public and disclose it only during confession and only to the priests. Thence, from early adolescence many young Catholic gays get used to satisfying their sexual needs only with priests and are convinced to relate their lives with the Catholic Church, become priests or monks themselves. In some Catholic communities, gays in fact have no other choice. If the Catholic Church ceased to renounce in public male homosexuality, it would provide young gays with alternatives to clerical career and would be forced either to abolish its doctrine of priests’ celibacy or face a sharp decline in the numbers of its servants.

Therefore, the Catholic Church continues to stigmatise homosexuality, and the Seimas, the Government and the courts of Lithuania do everything to support the present atmosphere of homophobia. More specifically, a couple of years ago, two members of the Seimas tried to use violence against a peaceful demonstration of homosexuals, fighted with the policemen who tried to stop them. However, none of the two was punished even for their resistance to the police. One of them, Petras Gražulis, is now member of the Seimas’ commission on ethics and procedures. Violence against gays has become a popular means for a successful political career; persecution of homosexuals was recognised as a legitimate political program during the Seimas’ election of 2012.

On the other hand, the present President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė declared before the presidential election that she is not lesbian. Although I personally do not know a single person who believed it, the very fact of such declaration clearly shows that homosexuality is considered indecent, reprehensible and concealable. It is worth to notice that even when the Lithuanian media publicly informed the Lithuanian society about my appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court, even the chair of the Lithuanian league of homosexuals repeated many times in public that they seek only to legalise legal partnership between gays and lesbians. I have also seen in the media a couple of public announcements denouncing the idea of adoption by same-sex pairs by persons who have declared themselves as homosexuals or are supposed to be such.

As a result, the majority of Lithuanian homosexuals fear to disclose their sexual orientation in public. Homosexuality is perceived as something shameful in many subcultures, it evokes social stigmatising, isolation from the remaining community. Even a suspicion that a person is homosexual can destroy his career, force him to break social ties, condemn to solitude or even suicide. In November of 2012, again two same-sex adolescents – this time, girls – hanged themselves together in Šilalė’s district. Adults still can escape by emigrating; however, suicide can appear the most attractive way out to defenceless adolescents.

Therefore, another man or my close relative would seriously put at risk his or her social or even personal life if he or she requested to register a marriage with me or to give a permission for adoption. Although most likely such person would not be homosexual, we would be doubtlessly declared gays. Although I do not identify myself as gay, presently many people think that I am gay because the LNK television, which broadcast the aforementioned report on my requests to the courts, wrongfully announced that I am trying to legalise namely ‘marriages of homosexual persons’ – and it still has not publicly denied that. The Lithuanian media is used to distort information and to publish libel on the private persons who cannot afford to hire a good lawyer practically without any negative consequences. I am sure that most Lithuanian televisions would directly or indirectly have declared us gays, so that my potential partner would have faced everything that openly declare themselves to be gays experience in Lithuania. I am not afraid myself of being called gay and do not see anything shameful in it; however, I would never permit a person who is dear to me to put at risk his or her entire life. I do not care about the threats and mockery I experience, but it could push another person into a deep depression, especially if he or she is not used to publicity.

The present Civil Code prohibits marriages between same-sex persons and close relatives, so such a request would be destined to failure in Lithuanian courts. Contempt for homosexuals and mockery at them were practically legalised by the Supreme Court, which in December of 2012 acquitted a person who had mocked at gays and suggested that they should be closed in a psychiatric hospital. In my opinion, the court cynically humiliated gays because it in fact stated that by seeking recognition of their rights gays violated the rights of the persons who do not like them and do not approve to them. Practically, the judges condemned gays for their insolence of airing in public their different opinion on family and therewith irritating the majority despite being a clear minority in Lithuania. The judges stressed: ‘The majority of the society of the Republic of Lithuania greatly appreciate the traditional values of family,’ as if the families of gays were not families at all. In my opinion, in this order, the Supreme Court of Lithuania cruelly mocked at homosexual persons and blatantly ignored at least articles 10 and 14 of the Convention, which guarantee all humans in Lithuania a right to express their opinions – even if they do not correspond with the opinions of the majority – and prohibit discrimination in this regard on the grounds of opinion, birth or other status. Anyway, the Supreme Court legalised calling gays in public ‘perverts’ and ‘debauched’ once more demonstrating the attitudes of the authorities towards them.

There hardly is any rule of law in the Republic of Lithuania as it is obvious that its law enforcement authorities bear little respect for the human rights and basic freedoms set forth in the Convention. Therefore, it would be foolish to expect Lithuanian courts to follow the Convention or the Constitution – which by the way formally promises much more human rights related to family life – when considering my and my potential partner’s request. It is worth to notice that even though as much as 16 percent of Lithuanians trust in courts, neither me nor my potential partners feel optimistic about the Lithuanian judiciary.

Therefore, by submitting with me a request to register a marriage or permit adoption, another man or my close relative would put at risk his social life only for a vague possibility sometime go to the European Court of Human Rights. I would like to notice that even relatively simple cases last years in Lithuanian courts, and authorities can just ignore orders of the Court – as in the case Paksas v. Lithuania. Standard compensations awarded by the Court are clearly insufficient to compensate for a ruined human life.

Thus, really, I could not submit a concrete request to implement my infringed rights because I cannot register a marriage or adopt alone – as I do not feel myself able to raise a child alone – and my potential partner would have put at risk his life because of present situation with rights of homosexuals in Lithuania. In my opinion, it would not have been honourable even to put forward such a proposition.

The Lithuanian courts ignored all my arguments concerning the factual absence of a possibility to submit a concrete request to register a marriage or to give permission for adoption with another man or my close relative. However, the legal doctrine of the ECHR entitles me to challenge the very existence of the laws that violate my rights set forth in the Convention.

In the cases Norris v. Ireland and Modinos v. Cyprus, the European Court of Human Rights recognised that even the existence of an illegal prohibition can continuously and directly infringe certain rights guaranteed by the Convention.

On the specific issue of proportionality, the Court is of the opinion that "such justifications as there are for retaining the law in force unamended are outweighed by the detrimental effects which the very existence of the legislative provisions in question can have on the life of a person of homosexual orientation like the applicant. (Norris v. Ireland, app. no. 10581/83)


Against this background, the Court considers that the existence of the prohibition continuously and directly affects the applicant’s private life. (Modinos v. Cyprus app. no. 15070/89)

In my opinion, with these statements the Court established a legal precedent that allows me to claim that the very existence of the laws that violate certain human rights or basic freedoms that are set forth in the Convention can provide sufficient grounds to go to the Court with a request to defend these rights or freedoms. In the aforementioned cases it would be abominable to demand of gays to ask for permissions for homosexual relations, which were forbidden then in Ireland and Cyprus, and bring to all the possible courts all the rulings to refuse to give such permissions.

In my case, the person who were to go to courts with me would have taken the risk to destroy his career, social or even personal life and experience psychological or even physical violence. Therefore I think that the very existence of the articles of the Civil Code that prohibit marriages between same-sex persons and close relatives and adoption by non-spouses gives me sufficient grounds to go to the Court and ask it to defend my rights violated by these articles. If homosexual persons are not required to bring to court a concrete prohibition of having sexual relations by state authorities in order to obtain a right to get to the Court with a request to recognise that the laws that prohibit homosexual relations violate the Convention, then I should not be required similar humiliating things either.

Thus I think that I have used all the legal means available in the Republic of Lithuania. I am certain that I cannot be required to put at risk the lives of my close persons in order to be permitted to bring to the Court a request to defend my human rights and basic freedoms that are set forth in the Convention.

page 6.

Statement of the object of the application — part 19.

I would like to make the Republic of Lithuania abolish the prohibitions of adoption for same-sex cohabiting persons and close relatives and recognise the right to respect of the family life – as it is set forth in article 8 of the Convention – of children who are raised in orphanages, persons who do not have a partner of opposite sex, and me and our right not to be discriminated when enjoying it on the grounds of sex, opinion, social origin, birth or other status – as it is set forth in article 14 of the Convention.

I also would like to draw attention of human rights organisations and all the society of the European Union towards the abuses of human rights and basic freedoms in the Republic of Lithuania, the emigration from which has made up 7 percent of the total population in the last 4 years.

page 7.

page 8.

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