Latvia’s Constitutional Court is to abolish the rule that a same-sex partner must pay a higher state fee to inherit the estate of their deceased partner, as reported on LSM.LV (public broadcasting of Latvia).

The decision came on 9 April when the Constitutional Court ruled that requiring a same-sex partner to pay more did not correspond with the state’s obligation to protect families, as stated in Latvia’s constitution.

The former rule will expire on 1 June 2022 and the Constitutional Court’s judgement will be final and unappealable. The government’s regulations make the state fee for the maintaining of real estate rights in the country’s Land Registry (if the value of the estate is more than 10 minimum monthly salaries) much lower for heterosexual couples than for same-sex families.

The rule did not comply with the country’s constitution

Latvia’s ombudsman said this rule did not comply with the country’s constitution because it did not protect families with same-sex partners. When inheritance was left by a same-sex family partner, the heir needed to pay the same fee to the state that someone who did not have a family relationship with the deceased.

A same-sex partner was forced to pay 60 times as much as would be paid by a surviving spouse. As the constitution obliges the state to protect and support every family, the Constitutional Court ruled that in future, the same partners would pay the reduced fee.

The Constitutional Court stated that the Constitution includes the State’s obligation to protect and support every family, so the rule would be abolished and in future include same-sex partners in the reduced fee.

Family not just a marriage-based union

The legislature has not determined the legal regulation of same-sex partnerships in Latvia, but in a judgement that took place on 12 November last year, the Constitutional Court stated that the rule where only the father of a child was permitted to receive leave aid did not comply with Latvia’s constitution. Then, the court stressed that a family is not just a marriage-based union.

In November, the Constitutional Court allowed the legislator time for the Saeima (Latvia’s parliament) to adopt an appropriate legal framework for family relations between same sex partners and to put in place social and economic protection and support for same-sex family. This has yet to be done.

The Constitutional Court has said that the state of Latvia “legally does not see” existing families of same-sex partners. It wants the regulation of family relations and protections to be “uniform and consistent”.


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