Lithuanian conservative parliamentarians, led by the chairman of the Committee on Health Affairs, registered a proposal yesterday to amend the Civil Code with a prohibition of gender reassignment surgery.
The members of the Seimas who submitted this draft amendment to the Civil Code said that if the permission to undergo gender reassignment surgery is replaced with the prohibition of such surgeries, “the state will be protected from any preconditions which create grounds for the appearance of claims against Lithuania at the European Court of Human Rights”.
In 2007, Lithuania lost a case in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerning a transsexual’s right to gender reassignment. The infringement was recognised because Lithuania had not adopted any special law concerning gender reassignment, although such a law is mentioned in the Civil Code.
The ECHR ruling recognised that Lithuania had violated the claimant L.’s right to respect of private life and obligated Lithuania, within three months from the date the ruling entered into effect, to pass a law regulating the procedure and conditions of gender reassignment.
The also ruling specified that if such a law was not passed within the set time period, Lithuania would have to pay the claimant EUR 40,000 as compensation for material damages, and the compensation was actually paid.
At present, the Civil Code provides that an unmarried adult is entitled to undergo gender reassignment surgery if it is possible medically, while the conditions and procedure of gender reassignment are set by legislation. However, no such legislation has been passed.
The initiators of the draft amendment propose that the aforementioned provisions be deleted and replaced by the provision that gender reassignment surgery is prohibited in Lithuania and that civil registry entries concerning gender reassignment surgeries performed abroad be amended by court decision only.
Vladimir Simonko, chair of the national LGBT advocacy organisation Lithuanian Gay League, today expressed strong concerns about the legislative initiative which if adopted would clearly contravene the Lithuania’s obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights.
“Trans people are already suffering from discrimination because national equal treatment law does not explicitly include gender reassignment,” he told UK Gay News.