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The Legal Committee at the Lithuanian parliament is to give its opinion on a constitutional amendment saying that family can only be defined through marriage.

The authors of the amendment, submitted over two years ago, say that it is intended to give more protection to families in the face of deteriorating demographic situation in the country.

The amendment would define family as arising from marriage or parenthood.

The government has criticized the bill, saying that such a definition would discriminate against unmarried couples. Moreover, it could go against the European Court of Human Rights rulings.

The constitutional amendment comes as a response to a ruling by the Lithuanian Constitutional Court five years ago, saying that the country's Constitution recognizes forms of family other than marriage.

The Lithuanian Constitution also defines marriage as union exclusively between a man and a woman.

Update: The scheduled meeting of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs fell through on Wednesday as too few of its members showed up.

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