Gay-related court ruling is handed down in Lithuania

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The highest court in Lithuania has ruled that foreign spouses of gay Lithuanians should have the same rights for residency in the country as opposite-sex spouses. On January 11th the court has officially denounced that even though Lithuania still does not recognize same-sex marriages, denying residency for those who married abroad would violate their basic human rights, that is why it would be discriminatory and unconstitutional. “The refusal to issue permits cannot be based only on gender identity or sexual orientation,” ruled the court. The migration department in Lithuania has confirmed that it will change its policy and start handing residency permits to foreign spouses of gay citizens. This ruling was welcomed by the Lithuanian human rights activists. In part Vladimir Simonko, who leads the Lithuanian Gay League, welcomed the decision as “a progressive ruling that sends an important message to our LGBT community and politicians” and noted that it might be the first step to completely changing the social attitudes of Lithuanians towards their LGBT co-habitants in general.

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