General legal framework

AuthorSabatauskait?, Birut?
Constitutional provisio ns on protection against discriminat ion and the
promotion of equality
The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania includes the following articles dealing with
Article 29 of the Constitution declares that:
All persons shall be equal before the law, the courts, and other State institutions
and officials. A person’s rights may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any
privileges, on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social
status, belief, convictions, or views.
A general equality clause is embodied in Chapter 2 under the heading ‘The Individual and
the State’. The wordin g of the article thus covers religion (beliefs) as well as political
views. According to the Constitutional Court ,
‘Convictions are a broad and diverse constitutional notion, including political,
economic convictions, religious feelings, cultur al disposition, ethical and esthetical
views etc.’25
Although disability, age and sexual orientation are not explicitly mentioned in the text of
the Constitution, that does not necessarily imply that rights may be restricted on the
basis of disability, age or s exual orientation. The Constitutional Court stated once again
in its conclusion in 2019 as well as in other conclusions before, that the Constitution is an
integral enactment that cannot be interpreted lit erally:
Therefore, Paragraph 2 of Article 29 of the Constitution may n ot be understood as
consolidating an exhaustive list of the grounds of non-discrimination; otherwise, the
preconditions would be created for denying the equality of all persons before the
law, courts, and other state institutions, i.e. the very essence of th e constitutional
principle of the equality of the rights of persons, as guaranteed under Paragraph 1
of Article 29 of the Constitution.
In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that
one of the forms of discrimination prohibited under Articl e 29 of the Constitution is
the restriction of th e rights of a person on the grounds of his/her gender identity
and/or sexual orientation; such a r estriction should also be reg arded as degrading
human dignity.’26
Constitutional provisi ons regarding the princ iple of non-discrimination have been
commented upon in a ruling by the Constitutional Court, which, under Article 72 of the
25 Ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania of 13 June 2000, available in English at: /content.
26 Conclusion of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania elaborating on the grounds of sexual
orientation and gender identity, 11.01.2019, No. KT3-N1/2019.
In general terms, this Conclusion concerned the issuing of a temporary residence permit to a foreign
national in the context of family reunification and the co nstitutionality of such provision. The Court held
that: ‘a temporary residence permit may be issued to a foreign national who is not a citizen of a M ember
State of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association not exclusively in cases where an
opposite-sex family member of such a foreign national resides in the Republic of Lithuaniabut also in
cases where a same-sex family member of such a foreign national resides in the Republic of Lithuania, i.e. a
person with whom a marriage or registered partnership has lawfully been concluded in anothe r state and
who is a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania or a foreign national (not a citizen of a Member State of the
European U nion or the European Free Trade Association) holding a residence permit.The Co nstitutional
Court elaborated on the provisions of the Constitution, taking into account the constitutional pr ovisions on
equality and referring also to internatio nal agreements and CJEU and ECtHR case law. Conclusion available
in English at: 0/ta1915/content.

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