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On the State Family Policy Concept

Case No. 21/2008

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATE FAMILY POLICY CONCEPT AS APPROVED BY RESOLUTION OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA NO. X-1569 “ON THE APPROVAL OF THE STATE FAMILY POLICY CONCEPT” OF 3 JUNE 2008 WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

28 September 2011
Vilnius

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Egidijus Bieliūnas, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, and Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis,

with the secretary—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

in the presence of the representatives of a group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, who were Julius Sabatauskas and Algirdas Sysas, Members of the Seimas,

the representatives of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned, who were Stasys Šedbaras, Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Seimas, and Rima Baškienė, a Member of the Seimas,

pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its public hearing, on 6 September 2011, heard constitutional justice case No. 21/2008 subsequent to the petition (No. 1B-22/2008) of a group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania No. X-1569 “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008, to the extent that the State Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, consolidates the definitions of the notions of family (Item 1.6.9), harmonious family (Item 1.6.2), extended family (Item 1.6.4) and incomplete family (Item 1.6.6), is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

1. At the stage of making laws and other legal acts one is obliged to observe the supremacy of the Constitution and the principles of a state under the rule of law, in the course of construction of which the Constitutional Court has formulated the constitutional imperatives of legislation and lawmaking. According to the petitioner, under the Constitution, the family is a constitutional value, and the right to create and foster legal family relations is a social right of every person. Therefore, from the Constitution an imperative arises for the legislator to establish the legal regulation related to the determination of the content of human rights and freedoms or consolidation of the guarantees of implementation of these rights and freedoms exclusively by means of a law.

2. Thus, the Seimas, upon formulating in the State Family Policy Concept (hereinafter also referred to as the Concept) the notions of family, harmonious family, extended family, incomplete family, and by introducing the definitions thereof and approving the said Concept by the disputed resolution, did not observe the requirement stemming from the Constitution to regulate legal family relations by means of a law, but not a legal act of lower level—a resolution of the Seimas.

3. The notions formulated in the Concept, as well as their definitions, according to their meaning, constitute new norms of law, which will have to be taken into consideration by the Seimas and the Government while preparing legal acts in the field of family policy and adjusting them to the provisions of the Concept. In the opinion of the petitioner, the new norms of law, which will have to be taken into consideration in the course of enacting laws in the field of family policy, may not be consolidated in a sub-statutory legal act; therefore the provisions of the Concept conflict with the Constitution.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were received from the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, who were S. Šedbaras, Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Seimas, and R. Baškienė, a Member of the Seimas, wherein it is maintained that the disputed provisions of the Concept are not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representatives of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

1. The provisions of Article 38 of the Constitution, according to the representatives of the Seimas, provide that the institute of family is derived from marriage, which is understood as a voluntary agreement between man and woman. Family, as well as motherhood, fatherhood and childhood, is under the protection and care of the state.

2. The purpose of the Concept as a legal act is to lay down certain guidelines for the future legal regulation. According to the methodology for preparing concepts of laws, formulations employed in a concept may not be too abstract, therefore, in the disputed Concept one needs to introduce the main notions such as “family”, harmonious family”, “extended family” and “incomplete family”. Otherwise, it would be impossible to determine which family model has been opted to be promoted by the state, and the document itself would lose its meaning, since abstract formulations would not give the state any opportunity to form a uniform family policy.

3. The Concept is not a legal act that is applied directly. A concrete definition of the notion of family is set in laws (in the Law on Benefits to Children, etc.), and only the concept of family that is entrenched in laws has influence on a person’s rights and duties, whereas the notions of family introduced in the Concept are the ones that provide orientation, they disclose the family model that is being encouraged by the state.

4. The state, by taking account of its financial possibilities and the historically established traditional and cultural values, has discretion to decide as to which family model, as the one that, in its opinion, should be strived for and which reflects best the values and priorities of the majority of society, is to be promoted and advocated. However, this does not mean that such legal regulation discriminates against persons who have chosen other form of living together, all the more so as the legislator, while implementing the provisions of Article 38 of the Constitution, construes in laws the notion of family in broader terms.

III

1. At the Constitutional Court hearing the representatives of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, who were J. Sabatauskas and A. Sysas, Members of the Seimas, reiterated the arguments set forth in the petition of the petitioner, answered to the questions and provided additional explanations.

J. Sabatauskas, a representative of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, noted that the petitioner also had doubts as to the compliance of the notions of family entrenched in the Concept with the Constitution. After adopting the Concept and adjusting the laws to the provisions of this Concept, the state, on the basis of a sole formal criterion—marriage, will provide greater support to some families, while providing no support or a different type of support to other families. Children born in the family that is deprived of one of the parents, or where parents live together unmarried or live separately, will be discriminated. Once the Concept is implemented, one will violate the rights of children that are entrenched in the Constitution and the international treaties, under which Lithuania has undertaken international commitments.

In the opinion of the representative of the petitioner, it is wrong to maintain that the Constitution implies the possibility of founding a family exclusively on the basis of marriage. According to the representative of the petitioner, the Constitution consolidates the concept of an effective, functioning and informal family, whereby the family is understood as a practically functioning community, at the core of which lie the relations, the whole block of relations. Therefore, the notions of family as defined through marriage, which are entrenched in the Concept, according to their content, do not conform to the provisions of Articles 6, 7 and 38 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. In addition, the legal regulation adjusted to the provisions of the Concept and consolidated in other legal acts (inter alia laws) would be discriminatory and would conflict with Article 29 of the Constitution.

According to A. Sysas, a representative of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, the Concept obviously discriminates against those families in which a man and a woman live unmarried. The family is not necessarily the marriage of a woman and a man, who have children. Speaking specifically of the harmonious family, it is not clear what is meant by the characteristic family functions, which are used to describe it, since the said functions are not defined in the Concept. The representative of the petitioner also noted that, after the Concept had been adopted, the effective laws were not adjusted to its provisions, but, on the contrary, the laws were adopted wherein, if compared to the provisions of the Concept, the family is defined in a different manner. Therefore, in the opinion of the representative, the Concept should not have been adopted at all.

2. The representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, who were S. Šedbaras, Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Seimas, and R. Baškienė, a Member of the Seimas, reiterated the arguments set forth in their written explanations, also answered to the questions and provided additional explanations.

S. Šedbaras, a representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, noted that, although the Constitution does not disclose the notion of family, when systemically construing the provisions of Articles 38 and 39 of the Constitution, it is clear that they consolidate two particular models: first, the family founded on the basis of marriage of man and woman, in which children are born and raised, and which is one of the fundamental values of the Nation; second, a child born and raised in the family founded not on the basis of marriage, which is a “different formation” and “will not always be a family”. According to the representative of the person concerned, without separating these different models and not establishing different means for their implementation and defence, one might violate the rights of the child. Under the provisions of the Concept, a child is protected irrespective of where and with whom he resides. However, a child growing up not in a family (his parents are unmarried or do not live together, the child lives in a social family, foster house), if compared to a child growing up in a family, requires different, additional assistance and attention.

S. Šedbaras also noted that the Concept is a specific programme document, wherein the representation of the Nation formulates its certain will and wherein it consolidates the essentials, a certain programme model. In his opinion, the disputed Concept, either by its form, or its content, is in not conflict with the Constitution.

R. Baškienė, a representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, noted that the drafters of the concept, by stressing the importance of the family, which is founded on the basis of marriage, in the life of a person and society, sought to emphasise the advantages of living in a family, and assessed the family based on marriage of man and woman as an objective strived for within the family policy. According to the representative of the party concerned, the fact that, under the Concept, the Seimas and the Government, when preparing legal acts in the field of family policy, take account of and adjust them to the provisions of the Concept, means not the obligatoriness but flexible adjustment of the said legal acts to, as well as taking account of, the main provisions of the Concept. The Concept constitutes the lawmaking guidelines, and the notions entrenched therein provide orientation and seek to disclose the family model promoted by the state. The state, by taking account of the historically established traditional and cultural values, has discretion to promote and recognise a certain family form, which, in its opinion, should be strived for and which reflects best the values and priorities of the majority of society. The Concept does not deny other forms of life; nor does it cover the diversity of perception of the family found throughout the private and cultural sectors. The Concept rests on the provision that, while defending motherhood, fatherhood and childhood, the state protects all the persons connected by the bonds of close kinship, upbringing, mutual assistance and common household.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. In the constitutional justice case at issue the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, is disputing the compliance of Seimas Resolution No. X-1569 “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008, to the extent that the State Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, consolidates the definitions of the notions of family (Item 1.6.9), harmonious family (Item 1.6.2), extended family (Item 1.6.4) and incomplete family (Item 1.6.6), with Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it is important to disclose the development of the lawmaking of the Republic of Lithuania in the field of family policy until the issuance of the legal act under investigation, also the place of this legal act in the legal system, the aims defined in this legal act, as well as the intentions of the lawmaking subject.

3. On 19 March 1996 the Government adopted Resolution No. 362 “On the Family Policy Concept and Course of Actions”, by means of which it gave its assent to the Family Policy Concept and Course of Actions as prepared by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology (Item 1) and approved the Measures for the Implementation of the Family Policy Concept (Item 2).

Item 4 of the said Government resolution provides: “To recommend municipalities, establishments of science and teaching, religious communities, creative unions, societies, other public organisations, editorial offices of radio, television, newspapers and magazines that they actively contribute to the execution of the tasks envisaged in the Family Policy Concept and Course of Actions and the execution of the measures for the implementation of the Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, and concentrate their efforts on solving the most important family problems.”

On 27 March 1996, this Government resolution and the Measures for the Implementation of the Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, were published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, whereas the Family Policy Concept itself and the Course of Actions, which had been assented to by the Government by the said resolution, were not officially (publicly) announced.

The Family Policy Concept, which was assented to by the Government by its resolution of 19 March 1996, introduced the concepts of family and family policy, described the changes in and the state of the Lithuanian family (family’s economic situation, household, employment, dwelling, state support to families, family demographic changes, family morals, family problems) and defined the objectives of the family policy and the course of actions (economic bases of family viability, family stability, the health of mother and child, family planning, child education, child security, integration of the elderly into society, integration of persons with incapacity into society, equal rights and opportunities for men and women, provision of information).

In the Family Policy Concept the family was defined as “a community of persons, which is linked by the ties of kinship, interdependence, responsibility and foster care approved by a legislative or socially recognised procedure”, the extended family—as “a family of at least three generations”, and the incomplete family—as “a family of one parent, mostly a mother (single mother, divorcee, widow, etc.), and a child (children)”. The Family Policy Concept provided no definition of the notion of harmonious family.

4. On 28 October 2004, the Government adopted Resolution No. 1350 “On Approving the National (Resident) Demographic Policy Strategy”, by Item 1 whereof it approved the National (Resident) Demographic Policy Strategy (hereinafter also referred to as the Strategy). Item 3 of the Strategy inter alia provides that the greatest part of attention therein is devoted to inter alia family welfare.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue the following provisions of this Strategy (wording of 28 October 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) need to be mentioned:

– “As shifts are taking place within society, the family—a fundamental social institute is also subject to changes, which are evident throughout all areas of life. The fact that the present-day family is characterised by instability is made clear by frequent divorce, the spread of alternative forms of family life, increase in the number of incomplete families, poor interrelationship quality between partners, occurring abuse and violence against a partner and children, and the growth in the territorial mobility of family members” (Item 12);

– “The major strategic aim in the field of family welfare is to promote the establishment of an independent and viable family, which is based on the mutual care and understanding between family members and able to ensure the change of generations, and to create the legal, social and economic conditions that strengthen families and ensure their fully-fledged functioning” (Item 77).

5. On 3 June 2008 the Seimas adopted Resolution No. X-1569 “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept”, by means of which it approved the State Family Policy Concept.

5.1. The Concept inter alia prescribes:

the purpose of the Concept is to substantiate the necessity of the general family policy in the course of implementation of the constitutional provision of the Republic of Lithuania that the family is the basis of society and the state (Item 1.1);

the aims of the Concept are to disclose the exceptional value of family for the life of the person and society, to define the functions fulfilled by the family that are important in meeting the needs of the person and society, to characterise the problems of family development and the conditions of family life in Lithuania, to define the objectives and principles of the state family policy, and to project the course of actions within the state family policy (Item 1.2);

the objective of the state family policy is to envisage and implement the common policy supporting and strengthening the institute of family, which would ensure the common conditions in providing differentiated aid by the state and public organisations to the family in all areas (Item 3.1);

as the life in the family is most favourable for comprehensive socialisation of every person, the priority of the state family policy is creating the environment favourable for the family (Item 3.2).

5.2. The Concept also defines the limits of its application, specifies the provisions of legal acts on which it is based, discloses the exceptional value of the family, determines the main functions of the family in the life of the person and society, projects the course of actions and tasks within the state family policy, and discusses the implementation of the Concept.

In the Concept, in addition to the general provisions, one surveys the problems relating to family development and the conditions of family life, by separating among them the demographic problems, changes in cultural environment and changes of values, social and economic family problems, problems of child education, and consolidates the principles of the implementation of the state family concept. The Concept gives a great deal of statistical information and provides references to various sources in the footnotes.

5.3. Summing up the aforementioned provisions of the Concept, it needs to be held that it provides for the course of action that must be followed by the lawmaking subject when preparing legal acts in the field of family policy. The Concept lays down the preconditions for the future legal regulation of family relations, and it defines only certain lawmaking guidelines in connection with the regulation of family relations.

In this context it needs to be noted that from the established practice with regard to enactment of sub-statutory legal acts of the Seimas and the Government (as, for instance: the State Child Welfare Policy Concept as approved by the Seimas Resolution “On the Approval of the State Child Welfare Policy Concept” of 20 May 2003, the Concept of Consolidation of the Institute of Individual Constitutional Appeal as approved by the Seimas Resolution “On Approving the Concept of Consolidation of the Institute of Individual Constitutional Complaint” of 4 July 2007, and the Concept of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Military Conscription of the New Wording as approved by Government Resolution No. 620 “On Approving the Concept of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Military Conscription of the New Wording” of 18 June 2008) it is clear that: concepts are approved by normative sub-statutory legal acts passed by the lawmaking subject; the concept itself, by its nature and essence, is not such a normative document that has direct influence on legal relations; it does not consolidate any such legal regulation (norms of law) that makes direct influence on legal relations and regulates the behaviour of subjects of legal relations; the provisions of the concept express the will of the lawmaking subject regarding a policy of certain areas of public and state life, or regarding the main directions, objectives, tasks and provisions of a normative legal act (normative legal acts) intended to be prepared (amended), on the basis of which the respective lawmaking processes should take place.

Thus, as it is evident from the aforementioned lawmaking practice, the concept is a document expressing the will of the lawmaking subject, whereby one initiates certain processes, and on the basis of which such processes should take place in the state; also it is a document which specifies the main directions, objectives and tasks of the said processes.

It needs to be noted that the essence of the concept and, thus, also the intentions of the lawmaking subject, by whom it has been adopted, are revealed not only through the directions, objectives and tasks of certain processes formulated in the provisions of the concept, but also through the notions that are employed and defined therein.

6. Item 1.6 “Main Notions of the Concept” of the Concept, certain provisions whereof are being disputed by the petitioner, inter alia provides:

1.6.2. Harmonious family means a family which fulfils the characteristic family functions that ensure the physical, psychological and spiritual well-being of all its members. <...>

1.6.4. Extended family means spouses, their children (adopted children), if there are any, and close relatives living together. <...>

1.6.6. Incomplete family means a family or extended family in which, upon termination of marriage, the children have been deprived of one or both parents. <...>

1.6.9. Family means spouses and their children (adopted children), if there are any. The family may also be incomplete or extended.”

While defining family, Item 1.6 of the Concept also consolidates the definitions of other notions, which are not being disputed by the petitioner in the constitutional justice case at issue:

1.6.3. Multi-child (large) family means a family raising three or more children. <...>

1.6.5. Family living through a crisis means a family living through a difficult period of life due to certain psychological, social, health, economic or other problems (a divorcing family; a family in which one or both parents temporarily live abroad, while their children, left to live in their native land, often develop the orphan’s syndrome (i.e. go through the trauma of parting and its consequences affect mental health as well as conduct); a family taking care of the patient, a family which has experienced a loss or violence, or a family facing other problems). <...>

1.6.8. Family at social risk means a family raising children under 18 years of age, in which at least one of the parents abuses alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or toxic substances, is a gambling addict, is unable or cannot take proper care of the children due to lack of social skills, subjects them to psychological, physical or sexual violence, uses the support received from the state for other than family needs, which, as a result, puts at risk physical, mental, spiritual and moral development and security of the children.”

Summing up the provisions of Item 1.6 of the Concept, it needs to be held that Items 1.6.2–1.6.6, 1.6.8 and 1.6.9 of the Concept consolidate the definitions of the notions of harmonious family, multi-child family, extended family, family living through a crisis, incomplete family, family at social risk, and family—the said items establish who the family, harmonious family, multi-child family, extended family, family living through a crisis, incomplete family, and family at social risk are composed of. In other words, by means of these provisions of the Concept the legislator has established when (under what conditions) a certain form of the living together of persons is considered to be a family, incomplete family, multi-child family, harmonious family, family living through a crisis, family at social risk, or extended family.

Thus, under the Concept, inter alia Items 1.6.2–1.6.6, 1.6.8 and 1.6.9 thereof, the family is directly related to the fact of the conclusion of marriage (“Family means spouses <...>”), i.e. the Concept consolidates the concept of the family based exclusively on marriage. It needs to be noted that, under the provisions of the Concept, a man and a woman living together, though being not married to each other, who may also be raising children (adopted children), are not regarded as a family; a man or a woman, who has not been married, with their child (children) or adopted child (adopted children) is not regarded as an incomplete family. A man and a woman who fulfil all the criteria of the harmonious family, multi-child family, family living through a crisis, or family at social risk, but who are not married to each other, also a man or a woman raising children (adopted children), but who has not been married, with their child (children) or adopted child (adopted children), are not correspondingly regarded as a harmonious family, multi-child family, family living through a crisis, or family at social risk.

7. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the Concept, inter alia Section 4 “Course of Actions Within the State Family Policy” thereof, defines inter alia various tasks in the field of regulation of family relations, as, for instance: to create favourable conditions for family business by improving the quality of informing, consulting and teaching (Sub-item 4.2.1.2); to create favourable conditions for harmonising professional employment, studies and family life (Sub-item 4.2.1.3); to improve the system of housing crediting and subsidising, which would meet family needs (Sub-item 4.3.1.1); to flexibly compensate for the home heating and other housing upkeep expenses, by taking into account the family possibilities (Sub-item 4.3.1.4); to increase the state support in obtaining housing to families raising children, especially large families (Sub-item 4.3.1.5); to develop the policy of active social support to families, by ensuring more effective harmonisation of pecuniary social support and social services system and strengthening effective socio-educational assistance to families (Sub-item 4.4.1.1); to provide additional employment guarantees for the person who is the only breadwinner of the family that raises children or involves other persons in need of care (Sub-item 4.4.1.8); to ensure the quality of health care services to all members of the family (Sub-item 4.5.1.1); to prevent all forms of violence against children, to provide qualified, comprehensive assistance to children who have been subjected to violence, as well as their families (Sub-item 4.6.1.4), etc.

Thus, in the Concept one has consolidated the provisions inter alia regarding the promotion of employment of family members (Item 4.2), the creation of favourable residential environment for a family and provision of families with residential dwellings (Item 4.3), the provision of families with social support and services (Item 4.4), family health (Item 4.5), child safety in the family (Item 4.6), i.e. the Concept consolidates the provisions whereby one intends inter alia to ensure certain social and financial welfare of a family.

While construing these provisions in the context of the provisions of the Concept that consolidate the notion of family, it needs to be noted that these provisions express a striving to ensure inter alia certain social and financial welfare of only such a family as it is perceived in the context of the Concept in question. This means that only with regard to the family founded exclusively on the basis of marriage one should seek inter alia to create more favourable conditions to obtain and use a dwelling (provisions of Item 4.3), to ensure more effective harmonisation of pecuniary social support and social services system (Item 4.4.4.1), to prevent all forms of violence against children growing up in a family of parents who live or formerly lived in a marriage (Item 4.6.1.4), etc.

8. Item 5.8 of the Concept provides that “the Seimas and the Government, when preparing legal acts in the field of family policy, take account of and adjust them to the provisions of this Concept”.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, the Seimas passes constitutional laws, laws, resolutions on the implementation of the laws, and other legal acts (Articles 67, 69, 70 and Item 2 of Article 94 of the Constitution). The Constitutional Court has held that enactment of laws is one of the most important functions of the Seimas, as the representation of the Nation, its constitutional competence (Constitutional Court ruling of 19 June 2002).

In its rulings of 8 November 1993, 29 May 1997 and 22 February 2008, while disclosing the concept of the process of legislation, the Constitutional Court held: “The process of legislation is the whole complex of legally significant actions necessary for the adoption of a law and performed in a rigid sequence of logic and time. The following stages of the process of legislation are universally recognised: the realisation of the right to legislation, the consideration of a draft law, the adoption of a draft law, the promulgation and the entry into force of the adopted law. Only with the completion of one stage another starts in consecutive order. The aforesaid consecutive order of the process of legislation is in essence established in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania: the realisation of the right of legislative initiative—in Article 68, the adoption of laws—in Article 69, the promulgation of laws and their entry into force—in Articles 70-72.”

In its ruling of 22 February 2008 the Constitutional Court also held that the procedure for adopting laws may be regulated by the Statute of the Seimas as well as by other laws, however, one may not ignore any stage of the legislation process or rule of the adoption of laws, which are enshrined in the Constitution, the Statute of the Seimas or other laws.

Under Paragraph 1 of Article 68 of the Constitution, the right of legislative initiative at the Seimas belongs to Members of the Seimas, the President of the Republic, and the Government. Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania also have the right of legislative initiative (Paragraph 2 of Article 68 of the Constitution). The Constitutional Court has held more than once (rulings of 8 November 1993, 21 April 1998, 25 January and 19 January 2005) that: the essence and purpose of the right of legislative initiative is to initiate the process of legislation; this right is implemented by submitting a draft law to the Seimas; after a subject of the right of legislative initiative at the Seimas submits a draft law, the legislative institution, the Seimas, is obliged to start considering it.

Thus, when systemically construing the provisions of Articles 67, 69, 70 and Item 2 of Article 94 of the Constitution together with the provisions of Article 68 of the Constitution, in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be held that, under the Constitution, the Seimas, as the institution of legislative power, does not perform the function of preparing legal acts. Under the Constitution, this function is performed by Members of the Seimas, the President of the Republic, the Government, and citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, while implementing the right of legislative initiative conferred on them in Article 68 of the Constitution.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the formulation “the Seimas <...> when preparing legal acts in the field of family policy” of Item 5.8 of the Concept as approved by the Seimas resolution, taking account of inter alia the context of its usage, also of the fact that the Concept is not designed to regulate the process of legislation of legal acts, inter alia to consolidate the stages of this process, is to be construed as implying not the preparation of legal acts carried out by the Seimas in corpore, but the consideration and adoption of laws and other legal acts submitted to the Seimas.

Thus, in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the provision entrenched in Item 5.8 of the Concept whereby “the Seimas and the Government, when preparing legal acts in the field of family policy, take account of and adjust them to the provisions of this Concept” is to be construed as obligating the Government, when it prepares legal acts related to regulation of family relations, as well as the Seimas, when it considers and adopts laws and other legal acts designed to regulate family relations, to take account of the provisions entrenched in the Concept and to adjust to them the future legal norms. This means that the provision entrenched in Item 5.8 of the Concept is formulated rather imperatively, it creates preconditions for consolidation of the corresponding legal regulation in legal acts designed to regulate family relations.

9. Summing up what has been aforesaid, it needs to be held that from the whole of provisions entrenched in the Concept it is clear that the legal technique reflected in the Concept inter alia means that part of provisions of the Concept, when assessed alongside the provision entrenched in Item 5.8 of the Concept, have the normative purpose, even though they are not directly designed to regulate family relations.

10. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that notions of family are also either directly or indirectly consolidated in certain laws regulating particular areas of relations connected with the family.

10.1. A notion of family is consolidated inter alia in Paragraph 8 (wording of 29 September 2008) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on State Support to Acquire or Rent a Dwelling and Renovate (Modernise) Multi-Apartment Houses, wherein it is prescribed:

Family means spouses, also a married person with whom, by a court’s decision, because of the separation of the spouses, their children have stayed to live, or one of parents and their children under 18 years of age. The family shall also include unemployed persons from 18 to 24 years of age if they study at full-time schools of general education or on full-time programmes at other formal education establishments (schoolchildren or students), also persons in the period from their graduation from a full-time school of general education until the 1st of September of the same year. Family members shall also be persons who are recognised as family members by a court’s decision. Parents (foster parents) of a spouse or a single person residing together may also be considered members of the family.”

10.2. A notion of family is also entrenched inter alia in Paragraph 6 of Article 2 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Benefits to Children (wording of 18 May 2004), wherein it is prescribed:

Family means spouses or persons living together, also a married person with whom, by a court’s decision, because of the separation of the spouses, their children have stayed to live, or one of parents, their children and adopted children under 18 years of age. The family shall also include persons between the ages of 18 and 24 who are unmarried and not living together with another person and who study on a general education programme or formal vocational training programme, or study at a higher school on a consecutive study programme in a full-time mode of studies, as well as persons in the period from the day of their completion of a general education programme until the 1st of September of the same year. The guardian’s (curator’s) family shall not include children who are placed under guardianship or curatorship in accordance with the procedure established by law.”

10.3. Paragraph 12 (wording of 17 July 2009) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Pecuniary Social Support to Low-Income Families and Single Residents (wording of 21 November 2006) prescribes:

Family means spouses, or a man and a woman of full legal age living together without having registered their union as a marriage, also a married person with whom, by a court’s decision, because of the separation of the spouses, their children have stayed to live, or one of parents and their children under 18 years of age. The family shall also include persons between the ages of 18 and 24 who are unemployed and unmarried and not living together with another person: learners of full-time schools of general education or full-time programmes at other formal education establishments (schoolchildren or students), also persons in the period from the day of their graduation from a full-time school of general education until the 1st of September of the same year. The guardian’s (curator’s) family shall not include children who are placed under guardianship or curatorship in accordance with the procedure established by law.”

11. Summing up it needs to be held that the aforementioned laws, which regulate the social relations a subject whereof is inter alia the family, provide different notions of family.

It needs to be noted that, having compared the aforementioned provisions of laws defining the notion of family with the definition of the notion of family entrenched in the Concept, it is clear that the notions of family introduced in the Concept, as approved by the Seimas, and those provided in the laws do not coincide (the Concept introduces a notion of family of a different content (a narrower one) compared to those established in the laws).

12. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the notion of family is also indirectly disclosed in the laws wherein it is defined who family members are.

12.1. For instance, Paragraph 2 of Article 248 “Interpretation of Concepts” of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania prescribes: “Family members of the perpetrator shall be the parents (adoptive parents), children (adopted children), brothers, sisters and their spouses living together with him, also the spouse of the perpetrator or the person living with him in common law (partnership) and parents of the spouse.”

Thus, within the field of the relations regulated by criminal law the family is considered to be not only spouses and their children (adopted children), but also parents (adoptive parents) of the spouses, brothers, sisters and their spouses living together, as well as persons living in common law.

12.2. Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 6.588 “Members of the Lessee’s Family” of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania provide:

Members of the lessee’s family are the spouse (cohabitant), their minor children, parents of the lessee and those of the spouse residing together with the lessee.

Children of full legal age, their spouses (cohabitants) and grandchildren of the lessee shall be attributed to his family members if they maintain common household with the lessee.”

Thus, the concept of lessee’s family, which is indirectly (through the definition of members of the lessee’s family) entrenched in the Civil Code, comprises at the least spouses (cohabitants) and their minor children, parents of the spouses, also children of full legal age and grandchildren if they maintain common household with the lessee. Other close relatives who have resided with the lessee at least for a period of one year may also be acknowledged to be family members of the lessee under judicial proceedings (Paragraph 4 of Article 6.588 of the Civil Code).

12.3. Paragraph 26 (wording of 28 November 2006) of Article 2 “Main Notions of This Law” of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Legal Status of Aliens provides: Family members mean the spouse or the person with whom an agreement of registered partnership has been concluded, children (adopted children) (hereinafter referred to as children) under the age of 18, including the children under the age of 18 of the spouse or the person with whom an agreement of registered partnership has been concluded, on condition that the said children are not married and are dependent on their parents, as well as direct relatives in the ascending line who have been dependent for at least one year and are unable to use the support of other family members resident in a foreign country.”

Thus, under this law, family members are considered to be spouses, the persons who have registered partnership and their children (or those of one of them) until they reach certain age, as well as the dependants who are related by kinship ties.

13. While summing up the provisions of the laws regulating certain areas of the relations connected with the family, which have been mentioned in this ruling, it needs to be noted that in defining the family in the laws regulating the relations connected with support to families the essential criteria involve the living together of family members, also one’s age and studies, which are related to a person’s limited possibility of earning income and his need to receive maintenance; in other laws (inter alia the Criminal Code, the Civil Code) such criteria as one’s age, studies, etc. are not significant: the crucial criterion therein, under which persons are attributed to members of the family, is consanguinity, affinity (relationship by marriage) and other close ties.

14. Having compared the aforementioned provisions of laws, which directly or indirectly (through the definition of family members) consolidate a notion of family, with the notion of family entrenched in the Concept, it is clear that the Concept, as approved by the Seimas resolution, and the laws regulating inter alia family relations consolidate different, by their content, notions of family (under the notion of family entrenched in the Concept, family members are viewed as comprising a narrower circle of subjects, since, as mentioned, the family, thus and family members, are not considered to include a man and a woman who live together, though are unmarried, and who may as well be raising children (adopted children), also a man or a woman, who have not been married, with their child (children) or adopted child (adopted children)).

15. Summing up the aforediscussed development of the lawmaking of the Republic of Lithuania in the field of family policy until the adoption of the disputed Concept, as well as the legal regulation that consolidates, either directly or indirectly, the notions of family in currently effective laws, it needs to be noted that the legal regulation of family relations and relations pertaining thereto was (and is) characterised by the fact that the family was (is) understood in broader terms compared to the family founded exclusively on the basis of marriage, i.e. the legal acts provide the notion of family of a different content (a broader one) compared to that entrenched in the Concept.

II

1. In the constitutional justice case at issue the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, is disputing the compliance of Seimas Resolution No. X-1569 “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008, to the extent that the State Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, consolidates the definitions of the notions of family (Item 1.6.9), harmonious family (Item 1.6.2), extended family (Item 1.6.4) and incomplete family (Item 1.6.6), with Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution prescribes that the Constitution is an integral and directly applicable act.

The Constitutional Court has held more than once that all provisions of the Constitution are interrelated and constitute a single and harmonious system, that there is a balance among the values consolidated in the Constitution, that it is not permitted to construe any provision of the Constitution so that the content of another provision of the Constitution is distorted or denied, since thus the essence of the entire constitutional legal regulation would be distorted and the balance of constitutional values would be disturbed (inter alia Constitutional Court rulings of 4 March 2003, 16 January 2006, 14 March 2006 and 24 September 2009).

3. Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution, wherein it is established that any law or other act that is inconsistent with the Constitution is invalid, consolidates the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution (Constitutional Court ruling of 29 October 2003). This fundamental constitutional principle defines the supremacy of the Constitution in the system of legal acts (Constitutional Court ruling of 29 May 1997). The Constitution is defined as the basic law which has supreme legal power in the hierarchical system of laws (Constitutional Court ruling of 29 May 1997).

4. The principle of the supremacy of the Constitution, which is enshrined in the Constitution, is inseparably linked with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which is a universal constitutional principle upon which the entire Lithuanian legal system and the Constitution itself are based (Constitutional Court ruling of 24 December 2002).

5. When construing the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the Constitutional Court has held in its acts more than once that a requirement arising from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law as well as other constitutional imperatives that the legislator and other lawmaking subjects pay heed to the hierarchy of legal acts, which stems from the Constitution, inter alia means that norms of the law are realised by a sub-statutory legal act, however, such an act may not replace the law itself (Constitutional Court ruling of 19 January 1994); sub-statutory legal acts may not be in conflict with laws, constitutional laws and the Constitution; sub-statutory legal acts must be adopted on the basis of laws; a sub-statutory legal act is an act of application of norms of the law, irrespective of whether the act is of one-time (ad hoc) application, or of permanent validity (Constitutional Court rulings of inter alia 30 December 2003, 5 March 2004, 13 December 2004, 7 February 2005, 5 May 2007, 13 August 2007, 6 September 2007, 29 April 2009 and 8 October 2009); legal acts of lower power may not establish any such legal regulation which would compete with that established in legal acts of higher power (Constitutional Court rulings of 13 December 2004, 19 January 2005, decision of 20 September 2005, rulings of 28 March 2006, 31 May 2006 and 29 November 2007).

6. The Constitutional Court has also held that these peculiarities of a sub-statutory act are also compulsory for other acts adopted by the Seimas, which are specified in Paragraph 2 of Article 70 of the Constitution; sub-statutory acts of the Seimas may not contradict the Constitution and laws enacted by the Seimas, the more so, they may not change the norms of laws and their contents (Constitutional Court ruling of 19 January 1994).

Sub-statutory acts of the Seimas may not regulate those legal relations that, under the Constitution, must be regulated by laws (Constitutional Court ruling of 13 December 2004). The Seimas, while resolving the issues that are the subject matter of regulation by laws, may not choose the form of resolution, because the resolution is a legal act of lower level (Constitutional Court ruling of 19 January 1994). A sub-statutory legal act may not replace the law itself or create any new legal norms of general character which would compete with the norms of the law, as thus the supremacy of laws in respect to sub-statutory acts, which is established in the Constitution, would be violated (Constitutional Court rulings of 21 August 2002 and 13 December 2004).

7. The Constitutional Court has held that the legislator may define the content of notions used in laws, however, the requirement to heed the hierarchy of legal acts, which stems from the Constitution inter alia the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, implies that the content of the notions used in laws may be defined (inter alia construed) only by a law and not by a legal act of lower power (Constitutional Court ruling of 13 November 2006).

8. The Constitutional Court ensures, within its competence, the hierarchy of legal acts consolidated in the Constitution, the compliance of all legal acts having the power of a constitutional law with the Constitution, the compliance of all legal acts having the power of a law with the Constitution and legal acts having the power of a constitutional law, as well as the compliance of all sub-statutory legal acts of the Seimas, acts of the President of the Republic and the Government with the Constitution, legal acts having the power of a constitutional law, and with legal acts having the power of a law (Constitutional Court decision of 8 August 2006).

9. The Constitutional Court has also held that, under the Constitution, the legal regulation related to the defining of the content of human rights and freedoms and consolidation of the guarantees of their implementation may be established only by means of a law; in cases where the Constitution does not require that certain relations related to human rights and their implementation be regulated by means of a law, these relations may also be regulated by sub-statutory acts—the acts that regulate process (procedural) relations of implementation of human rights, the procedure for implementing individual human rights, etc. (Constitutional Court rulings of 13 December 2004 and 5 May 2007).

10. The Constitutional Court has held that there is no delegated lawmaking in Lithuania (Constitutional Court rulings of 26 October 1995, 19 December 1996, 3 June 1999, 5 March 2004 and December 13 2004), therefore, the Seimas—the legislator—may not commission the Government or other institutions to regulate, by means of sub-statutory legal acts, the legal relations that must be, under the Constitution, regulated by means of laws, while the Government may not accept any such commissions. The said relations may not be regulated by sub-statutory legal acts of the Seimas, either (Constitutional Court ruling of 13 December 2004). It is evident from the Seimas competence established in Article 67 of the Constitution as well as the principle of the separation of powers entrenched in Article 5 of the Constitution, that the Seimas may not give the Government any direct instructions of normative character otherwise than under the procedure of legislation (Constitutional Court ruling of 19 January 1994).

11. In the Constitutional Court ruling of 13 December 2004 it was held that failure to follow the form of the legal act, when it is required in the Constitution that certain relations be regulated by the law, though they are being regulated by a sub-statutory act (irrespective of the fact whether these relations are, in any aspect, additionally regulated by a law the legal regulation established wherein is challenged by the legal regulation established in the sub-statutory act, or of the fact that no law regulates such relations at all), may become a sufficient ground to recognise such a sub-statutory legal act as being in conflict with the Constitution.

12. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests the Constitutional Court to investigate the compliance of the provisions of the Concept, as approved by the Seimas resolution, with the Constitution.

Paragraph 1 of Article 102 of the Constitution inter alia prescribes that the Constitutional Court decides whether the laws and other acts of the Seimas are not in conflict with the Constitution.

When construing Paragraph 1 of Article of 102 the Constitution, the Constitutional Court held that, under the Constitution, the Constitutional Court has the exclusive competence to investigate and decide on whether any law (part thereof) and the Statute of the Seimas (part thereof) are not in conflict with the Constitution and constitutional laws, whether any sub-statutory legal act (part thereof) of the Seimas is not in conflict with the Constitution, constitutional laws, laws, and the Statute of the Seimas (Constitutional Court rulings of 28 March 2006 and 6 June 2006).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the implementation of constitutional justice determines the fact that the Constitutional Court has the constitutional powers to investigate and decide also on whether, by their nature and purpose, such provisions of sub-statutory acts of the Seimas (inter alia constituent parts thereof) that express the will of the Seimas regarding the future legal regulation of certain social relations and which form the basis for preparing and adopting the corresponding legal acts are not in conflict with the Constitution. The compliance of the content of such sub-statutory acts of the Seimas with the provisions of the Constitution and constitutional principles is one of the important preconditions of the constitutionality of the legal regulation formed on the basis of these acts.

Thus, the constitutionality of the provisions of sub-statutory acts of the Seimas (inter alia constituent parts thereof) of the said nature and purpose, which do not consolidate any legal regulation (legal norms) that has direct influence on the legal relations, may be assessed in the aspect of the compliance of their content, on the basis of which the lawmaking processes should take place, with the Constitution.

The compliance, with the Constitution, of the sub-statutory acts (inter alia constituent parts thereof) of the said character, which had been adopted by the Seimas and the Government, was investigated by the Constitutional Court in its previous constitutional justice cases. In this context one needs to mention the Constitutional Court ruling of 24 September 2009, which was adopted in the constitutional justice case wherein one inter alia was disputing the provisions of the Concept, as approved by the Seimas resolution and the Government resolution, which provided for certain tendencies in the policy of the organisation of the national defence system. In the said ruling, while investigating the compliance, with the Constitution, of the sub-statutory legal acts adopted by the Seimas and the Government, the provisions whereof, as it was held in that Constitutional Court ruling, did not consolidate any legal regulation (legal norms) directly influencing the legal relations, the Constitutional Court held that the constitutionality of the provisions of these legal acts had to be assessed in the aspect of the compliance of their content, on the basis of which the lawmaking processes should take place, with the Constitution.

13. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, is disputing the compliance of the Seimas resolution of 3 June 2008, to the extent that the State Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, consolidates the definitions of the notions of family (Item 1.6.9), harmonious family (Item 1.6.2), extended family (Item 1.6.4) and incomplete family (Item 1.6.6), with inter alia Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Constitution.

14. Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Constitution prescribes: “The family shall be the basis of society and the State”; Paragraph 2 thereof prescribes: “Family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood shall be under the protection and care of the State.”

14.1. The Constitutional Court has held that the provisions of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution express an obligation of the state to establish, by means of laws and other legal acts, such legal regulation that would ensure that the family, as well as motherhood, fatherhood and childhood, as constitutional values, would be fostered and protected in all ways possible (Constitutional Court rulings of 13 June 2000 and 5 March 2004), and that Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution consolidate the most general constitutional principles (Constitutional Court ruling of 5 March 2004).

14.2. The meaning of family as a fostered and protected constitutional value is confirmed by the fact that various aspects of the concept of family are also enshrined in other provisions of articles of the Constitution, inter alia in the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 39, whereby the state takes care of families that raise and bring up children at home, and renders them support according to the procedure established by law, in the provision of Paragraph 4 of Article 22, whereby the law and the court protect everyone from arbitrary or unlawful interference in his private and family life, in the provision of Paragraph 5 of Article 26, whereby parents and guardians take, without restrictions, care of the religious and moral education of their children and wards according to their own convictions, in the provision of Article 31, whereby it is prohibited to compel one to give evidence against his family members or close relatives, in the provisions of Article 146, whereby the state takes care of and provides for the families of servicemen who lost their lives or died during the military service, also whereby the state provides for the families of the citizens who lost their lives or died in defence of the state. The said constitutional provisions form the basis for the state family policy.

15. The provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Constitution are to be construed by taking account of other provisions of the same article of the Constitution, inter alia Paragraph 2, which provides that family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood are under the protection and care of the state, Paragraph 3, which provides that marriage is concluded upon the free mutual consent of man and woman, also Paragraph 5, which provides that in the family the rights of spouses are equal.

15.1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the constitutional concept of family may not be derived solely from the institute of marriage, which is entrenched in the provisions of Paragraph 3 of Article 38 of the Constitution. The fact that the institutes of marriage and family are entrenched in the same Article 38 of the Constitution indicates an inseparable and unquestionable relationship between marriage and family. Marriage is one of the grounds of the constitutional institute of family for the creation of family relations. It is a historically established family model that undoubtedly has an exceptional value in the life of society and which ensures the viability of the Nation and the state as well as their historical survival.

However, this does not mean that, under the Constitution, inter alia the provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 thereof, the Constitution does not protect and defend families other than those founded on the basis of marriage, inter alia the relationship of a man and a woman living together without concluding a marriage, which is based on the permanent bonds of emotional affection, reciprocal understanding, responsibility, respect, shared upbringing of the children and similar ones, as well as on the voluntary determination to take on certain rights and responsibilities, which form a basis for the constitutional institutes of motherhood, fatherhood and childhood.

Thus, the constitutional concept of family is based on mutual responsibility between family members, understanding, emotional affection, assistance and similar relations, as well as on the voluntary determination to take on certain rights and responsibilities, i.e. the content of relationships, whereas the form of expression of these relationships has no essential significance for the constitutional concept of family.

15.2. A duty of the state to establish, by laws and other legal acts, such legal regulation that would ensure the protection of the family as a constitutional value, which stems from Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Constitution, implies not only an obligation for the state to establish the legal regulation whereby one would inter alia create preconditions for a proper functioning of a family, would strengthen family relations and would defend the rights and legitimate interests of family members, but also an obligation for the state to regulate, by laws and other legal acts, family relations so that there would be no preconditions created for the discrimination against certain participants of family relations (as, for instance, a man and a woman who live together without having registered their union as a marriage, their children (adopted children), one of the parents who is raising a child (adopted child), etc.).

16. The Constitutional Court has also held that, under the Constitution, the Seimas, as the representation of the Nation and the institution of legislative power, may pass laws and other legal acts regulating most varied social relations (Constitutional Court ruling of 4 April 2006).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the Seimas, as the institution of legislative power, has broad discretion to form the state policy in various areas of social life, inter alia the state family policy, and to regulate correspondingly, by legal acts, the social relations in these areas. While implementing its powers to form the state policy in certain areas of public and state life, inter alia the state family policy, the Seimas is obliged to heed the norms and principles of the Constitution.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it also needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, inter alia the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the Seimas, as the institution of legislative power, when exercising its constitutional powers and regulating, by legal acts, family relations, inter alia formulating the notions of subjects of these relations, must heed the Constitution and the requirements stemming therefrom, inter alia those of equality of rights, human dignity, and respect for private life. Under the Constitution, inter alia the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, in the course of regulating family relations by laws and other legal acts and defining the family as a subject of legal relations, a duty arises for the Seimas, as the institution of legislative power, to take account of a specific character of the relations under regulation, inter alia the peculiarities of subjects of the legal relations, which objectively determine the necessity to define these subjects in the context of those concrete relations the participants of which they appear to be.

III

1. The constitutional concept of family must also be construed by taking account of the international commitments of the State of Lithuania that were undertaken after it had ratified the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter referred to as the Convention). Article 8 of the Convention guarantees the right to respect for family life. The European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as the ECHR), which applies the provisions of the Convention, in its jurisprudence, which is important for the construction of Lithuanian law as a source of construction of law, has more than once analysed the concept of family.

1.1. In the case Marckx v. Belgium the ECHR held that the concept of family life is not confined to families formed on the basis of marriage and that it may cover other de facto relationships. The support and encouragement of the traditional family is in itself legitimate or even praiseworthy, however, in the achievement of this end recourse must not be had to measures whose object or result is to prejudice the natural family, since the members of such a family enjoy the guarantees of Article 8 of the Convention (which regulates inter alia the right to respect for family life) on an equal footing with the members of the traditional family (judgement of 13 June 1979 in the case Marckx v. Belgium, Application No. 6833/74).

The right to family life not merely implies a duty for the states to abstain from unlawful interference with a person’s family life, but there may be also positive obligations necessary to ensure effective protection of this right of the person (judgement of 13 June 1979 in the case Marckx v. Belgium, Application No. 6833/74).

1.2. When establishing what relationships are encompassed by the notion “family life”, a great number of factors might be taken into consideration, e.g., the living together, permanence of the relationship, character of the demonstrated mutual obligations, etc. In the opinion of the ECHR, the notion “respect for family life” means that biological and social reality prevail over a legal presumption, which flies in the face of established facts (judgement of 27 October 1994 in the case Kroon and others v. The Netherlands, Application No. 18535/91).

Family life may be established even if the relationship between persons has ended. The mutual enjoyment by parent and child of each other’s company constitutes a fundamental element of family life even when the relationship between the parents has broken down (judgement of 26 May 1994 in the case Keegan v. Ireland, Application No. 16969/90).

1.3. Construing the concept of family life, the ECHR has been gradually broadening it and has held that the concept of family life encompasses the relationships of not only parents (married or unmarried) with their children, but also interrelationships between other persons, inter alia ties between near relatives. In the aforementioned case Marckx v. Belgium it was held that family life includes at least the ties between near relatives (for instance those between grandparents and grandchildren), since such relatives may play a considerable part in family life (judgement of 13 June 1979 in the case Marckx v. Belgium, Application No. 6833/74). In other case, into the concept of family life, the ECHR also included the “family life” of brothers and sisters (judgement of 26 September 1997 in the case El Boujaïdi v. France, Application No. 25613/94).

2. Summing up it needs to be noted that the concept of family analysed in the jurisprudence of the ECHR is not confined to the notion of the traditional family founded on the basis of marriage. The ECHR has held more than once that other types of the relationship of living together are also defended in the sense of Article 8 of the Convention, as those which are characterised by permanence of the relationship between persons, the character of assumed obligations, common children, etc. It also needs to be noted that the ECHR jurisprudence does not provide any comprehensive list of the criteria defining the family.

3. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the concept of family has also been more than once analysed in the practice of constitutional courts of foreign countries.

3.1. For instance, when construing Paragraph 1 of Article 32 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Czech Republic (which, under Article 3 of the Constitution of the Czech Republic, is a part of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic), wherein it is prescribed that the family is under the protection of the law, the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic held: the family is, in the first place, a biological connection, and then a social institution, which is only subsequently defined by a legal framework; the family is a social group of related persons, among whom there are close ties—blood, psychosocial, emotional, economic, etc.; at the level of social reality the concept of family is very changeable (as stated above, the social reality of the family has undergone successive transformations, and through them the traditional European concept of the family has disintegrated more and more noticeably, and legal regulation of the family and family life is necessarily also subject to these transformations); legal protection as a family can also be enjoyed by a social group of persons living outside the institution of marriage, or a group of persons not related by blood, among whom there are nonetheless the abovementioned emotional and other ties (persons living together as mates, partners living together with a child that was born to one of the parents from another relationship, etc.) (judgement of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic of 20 February 2007 (No. 568/06)).

3.2. Under Paragraph 3 of Article 53 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, the state protects the family and creates the necessary conditions for such protection. In its decision of 28 May 1998, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia held that a living community which is legally defined as a family, therefore, is not necessarily only a living community of parents and their children. It is not possible to interpret the statutory provisions defining a family so that only a living community of two adults and a child is counted as a family, or so that a living community should lose the (legal) status of a family because of the loss of one of the parents. It follows then that a living community of a mother with one or more children must be considered a family.

3.3. In its ruling of 18 April 2007, when construing the provisions of Article 62 (formerly Article 61) of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia that the family enjoys special protection of the Republic (Paragraph 1) and that marriage and legal relations in marriage, common-law marriage and families are regulated by law (Paragraph 2), the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia noted that marriage and common-law marriage are constitutionally recognised unions; in family matters, the Constitution makes no difference between marriage and common-law marriage; both unions are recognised in the Constitution and both are regulated by law.

3.4. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court of Hungary, when construing Article 15 of the Constitution of the Republic of Hungary, wherein it is entrenched that “The Republic of Hungary shall protect the institutions of marriage and family”, held that “marriage and family is the most fundamental and most natural community of the citizens forming the society” (decision of the Constitutional Court of Hungary of 26 February 1990 (No. 4/1990)). The protection entrenched in Article 15 of the Constitution includes a further obligation of the state not only to protect the existing marriages but also to establish a legal environment (e.g., by offering benefits for those who live in marriage) encouraging the citizens to choose marriage from the potential forms of living together and to found families. The legislation can only protect marriage effectively against the competing life models, if the different models are actually regulated differently. For the sake of maintaining the constitutional protection granted to marriage, partnerships intentionally and wilfully avoiding marriage should not enjoy the same level of protection as marriage itself. The full spectrum of the rights and obligations vested in the spouses should not be opened for those persons who have the right to get married, still they opt not to do so. The state’s obligation of protecting the institutions of marriage and family as specified under Article 15 of the Constitution does not imply any obligation to protect the partnership forms outside the marriage bond (decision of the Constitutional Court of Hungary of 15 December 2008 (No. 154/2008)).

3.5. The Preamble to the 27 October 1946 Constitution of the Republic of France, which is a constituent part of the Constitution of the Republic of France, proclaims that “The Nation shall provide the individual and the family with the conditions necessary to their development”. In its decision of 29 July 2011, the Constitutional Council of the French Republic held that the purpose of marriage is not only to ensure the personal, material and patrimonial obligations of the couple, but also to assure the protection of the family. In this decision the Constitutional Council elucidated that spouses, persons having concluded a partnership agreement, and those living in cohabitation have a different status, and held that the legal regulation under which the compensatory pension (pension de reversion) is granted exclusively to the spouse of a deceased person, and is granted neither to a cohabitant, nor a partner, is not in conflict with the Constitution (decision of the Constitutional Council of 29 July 2011 (No. 2011-155)).

3.6. In the jurisprudence of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany it is indicated that Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Basic Law, wherein it is established that “marriage and the family shall enjoy the special protection of the State”, protects the family as a community of parents and children. In this connection it is not significant whether the children are the children by birth of the parents and whether they are legitimate or illegitimate. Family is the actual long-term and upbringing relationship between children and parents who are responsible for the children. If the child lives together with both parents, they form a family together. If this is not the case, but both parents in fact bear responsibility for the child, the child has two families, which are protected by Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Basic Law: the family with the mother and the family with the father (ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany of 9 April 2003 (No. 1493/96, 1724/01)). The Federal Constitutional Court has also held that, under Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Basic Law, marriage enjoys the special protection of the state, and that the state is under an obligation to protect and support marriage. By following this constitutional obligation, the legislator must give preference to marriage rather than other forms of living together, as, for instance, a civil partnership of a man and a woman (ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany of 20 September 2007 (No. 855/06)).

4. Summing it up it needs to be noted that the construction of the concept of family in the jurisprudence of the constitutional courts of the aforementioned foreign countries is not uniform, the family is defined by taking into consideration the plurality of forms of family life prevailing in society at a particular period of time, as well as the demographic, economic and social changes in the life of society.

IV

On the compliance of Items 1.6.2, 1.6.4, 1.6.6 and 1.6.9 of the State Family Policy Concept as approved by Seimas Resolution No. X-1569 “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008 with Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. The group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests that the Constitutional Court investigate whether Seimas Resolution No. X-1569 “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008, to the extent that the State Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, consolidates the definitions of the notions of family (Item 1.6.9), harmonious family (Item 1.6.2), extended family (Item 1.6.4) and incomplete family (Item 1.6.6), is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. According to the petitioner, family relations, under the Constitution, must be regulated by means of a law, whereas the Seimas, after consolidating in the Concept the definitions of the notions of family, harmonious family, extended family, and incomplete family, has regulated the said relations by means of a legal act of lower power—a resolution of the Seimas. The notions formulated in the Concept, according to the petitioner, are new norms of law, which the Seimas and the Government will have to take into account and to which they will have to adjust the future legal acts in the field of family policy, therefore, such provisions may not be entrenched by a sub-statutory legal act. After adopting the Concept and adjusting the laws to the provisions of this Concept, the state, on the basis of the sole formal criterion—marriage, will provide greater support to some families, while providing no support or a different type of support to other families. In the opinion of the petitioner, the Constitution does not imply a possibility to found a family exclusively on the basis of marriage.

3. It has been mentioned that the State Family Policy Concept was approved by Seimas Resolution No. X-1569 “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008.

The Seimas resolution, by means of which the Concept was approved, is a legal act adopted by the Seimas, as the legislator authorised, under the Constitution, inter alia Articles 67 and 70 thereof, to regulate by laws and other legal acts the most important social relations, which in the hierarchy of legal acts has the power of the sub-statutory legal act.

4. In this ruling it has been held that the Concept is not intended to directly regulate family relations, also that the Concept defines only certain guidelines for the lawmaking related to regulation of family relations, i.e. it prescribes which course of action must be followed by the lawmaking subject when preparing legal acts in the field of family policy, and that this act consolidates preconditions for the future legal regulation related to family relations.

Thus, the Concept as approved by the Seimas resolution, which provides for certain state family policy guidelines, its objectives, principles, course of actions and tasks, sets forth a certain position of the Seimas on the question of formation of the state family policy and creates preconditions to correspondingly change as well as newly establish the legal regulation in the field of family policy.

5. As mentioned, Item 1.6 “Main Notions of the Concept” of the Concept, certain provisions whereof are being disputed by the petitioner, inter alia provides:

1.6.2. Harmonious family means a family which fulfils the characteristic family functions that ensure the physical, psychological and spiritual well-being of all its members. <...>

1.6.4. Extended family means spouses, their children (adopted children), if there are any, and close relatives living together. <...>

1.6.6. Incomplete family means a family or extended family in which, upon termination of marriage, the children have been deprived of one or both parents. <...>

1.6.9. Family means spouses and their children (adopted children), if there are any. The family may also be incomplete or extended.”

It has been mentioned that, while defining the family, Item 1.6 of the Concept also consolidates the definitions of other notions, which are not being disputed by the petitioner in the constitutional justice case at issue:

1.6.3. Multi-child (large) family means a family raising three or more children. <...>

1.6.5. Family living through a crisis means a family living through a difficult period of life due to certain psychological, social, health, economic or other problems (a divorcing family; a family in which one or both parents temporarily live abroad, while their children, left to live in their native land, often develop the orphan’s syndrome (i.e. go through the trauma of parting and its consequences affect mental health as well as conduct); a family taking care of the patient, a family which has experienced a loss or violence, or a family facing other problems). <...>

1.6.8. Family at social risk means a family raising children under 18 years of age, in which at least one of the parents abuses alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or toxic substances, is a gambling addict, is unable or cannot take proper care of the children due to lack of social skills, subjects them to psychological, physical or sexual violence, uses the support received from the state for other than family needs, which, as a result, puts at risk physical, mental, spiritual and moral development and security of the children.”

6. As mentioned, notions of family are also entrenched in certain laws, which regulate family relations in different aspects.

7. Assessing the Concept in the context of the notions of family consolidated therein, it needs to be noted that, as mentioned, the Concept, by its nature and essence, is not such a normative document that has direct influence on legal relations. The essence of the concept and, thus, the intentions of the lawmaking subject, by whom it was adopted, are revealed not only through the course of actions, objectives and tasks formulated in the provisions of the concept, but also through the notions that are employed and defined therein.

The Concept, which lays down certain guidelines of the formation and main directions of family policy, may provide certain notions that help to disclose the aims and objectives of the lawmaking subject who adopted that Concept. The Seimas, when establishing the state family policy guidelines, its objectives, principles, course of actions and tasks, may define as to how in the context of the Concept the family is to be understood, since this is necessary for revealing in which direction it is wished to develop the future state family policy.

Thus, in the Concept, which was approved by its resolution and which lays down the principal directions of the formation of the family policy, the Seimas could provide certain notions of family, on the basis of which one seeks to convey the essence of the Concept. The Seimas resolution, by means of which one approved the Concept, inter alia the notions of harmonious family, multi-child family, extended family, family living through a crisis, incomplete family, family at social risk, and family entrenched in the provisions of Item 1.6 thereof, does not directly establish the rights of participants of family legal relations, nor their duties and legal responsibility.

8. As mentioned, Item 5.8 of the Concept provides that “the Seimas and the Government, when preparing legal acts in the field of family policy, take account of and adjust them to the provisions of this Concept”.

It has also been mentioned that the provision entrenched in Item 5.8 of the Concept is to be construed as obligating the Government, when it prepares legal acts related to regulation of family relations, as well as the Seimas, when it considers and adopts laws and other legal acts designed to regulate family relations, to take account of the provisions consolidated in the Concept and to adjust to them the provisions of future legal acts.

Consequently, the notions of harmonious family, multi-child family, extended family, family living through a crisis, incomplete family, family at social risk, and family formulated in the provisions of Items 1.6.2–1.6.6, 1.6.8 and 1.6.9 of the Concept are of significance to further development of family policy, as it is an objective strived for by the lawmaking subject to consolidate in the future the said notions in normative legal acts regulating family relations.

It has been mentioned that the Seimas resolution, by means of which the Concept was approved, is a legal act adopted by the Seimas, as the legislator authorised, under the Constitution, inter alia Articles 67 and 70 thereof, to regulate, by laws and other legal acts, the most important social relations, which in the hierarchy of legal acts has the power of a sub-statutory legal act.

Thus, the provision entrenched in Item 5.8 of the Concept means that the Seimas, when considering and adopting laws designed to regulate family relations, will have to take account of the provisions of the legal act of lower power—a resolution of the Seimas and to adjust to them the acts of higher power—laws—that are under the process of adoption; the Government, when preparing legal acts related to regulation of family relations, will have to execute the commission of the Seimas that is issued not under the procedure of legislation and designed not for the implementation of laws.

9. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the Seimas, by establishing in Item 5.8 of the Concept the obligation, in the course of preparing legal acts in the field of family policy, to take account of the provisions consolidated in the Concept and to adjust to them the provisions of future legal acts, has also established that the Government, when it prepares legal acts related to regulation of family relations, and the Seimas, when it considers and adopts laws and other legal acts designed to regulate family relations, are correspondingly bound by the provisions of the Concept, inter alia the notions of family entrenched in Item 1.6 thereof. This means that, under the provisions of Item 5.8 of the Concept, the Seimas, when considering and adopting laws designed to regulate family relations, is under an obligation to adjust the notions of family provided in these laws to the notions of family introduced in the provisions of Item 5.8 of the Concept, which has the power of the sub-statutory legal act.

Consequently, the notions of family consolidated in the Concept, which has the power of the sub-statutory legal act, inter alia in Items 1.6.2–1.6.6, 1.6.8 and 1.6.9 thereof, are correspondingly binding on the Government when it prepares legal acts related to regulation of family relations and the Seimas when it considers and adopts laws and other legal acts designed to regulate family relations.

10. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the Concept consolidates the basis for the establishment of the future legal regulation related to family relations. It has been mentioned that, under the provision of Item 5.8 of the Concept, the lawmaking subjects are under the obligation to adjust the future legal regulation in the field of family relations to the provisions of the Concept and that the provisions thus entrenched in the Concept are correspondingly binding on certain lawmaking subjects.

Thus, the compliance of the provisions of the Concept, which are being disputed by the petitioner, with the Constitution is important in terms of the constitutionality of legal acts that will be prepared and adopted after adjusting them to the provisions of the Concept. Therefore, the constitutionality of the disputed provisions of the Concept needs to be assessed inter alia in the aspect of the compliance of their content, on the basis of which the lawmaking processes should take place, with the Constitution.

11. It has been mentioned that Items 1.6.2, 1.6.4, 1.6.6 and 1.6.9 of the Concept, the compliance whereof with the Constitution is being disputed by the petitioner in the constitutional justice case at issue, establish the notions of harmonious family, extended family, incomplete family, and family. It has also been mentioned that, while defining the family, Item 1.6 of the Concept also consolidates the definitions of other notions, which are not being disputed by the petitioner in the constitutional justice case at issue: multi-child family (Item 1.6.3), family living through a crisis (Item 1.6.5) and family at social risk (Item 1.6.8). As mentioned, under the Concept, inter alia Items 1.6.2–1.6.6, 1.6.8 and 1.6.9 thereof, the family is directly related to the fact of the conclusion of marriage (“Family means spouses <...>”), i.e. the Concept consolidates the concept of the family based exclusively on marriage.

It needs to be held that the provisions of Items 1.6.2, 1.6.4, 1.6.6 and 1.6.9 of the Concept, the compliance whereof with the Constitution is being disputed by the petitioner in the constitutional justice case at issue, are closely related to the provisions of Items 1.6.3, 1.6.5 and 1.6.8 of this Concept, which are not being disputed by the petitioner. Thus, the investigation into the compliance of Items 1.6.2, 1.6.4, 1.6.6 and 1.6.9 of the Concept, which are being disputed by the petitioner, with the Constitution is inseparable from the investigation into the compliance of Items 1.6.3, 1.6.5 and 1.6.8 of this Concept with the Constitution.

12. It has been noted that, under the provisions of the Concept, a man and a woman living together, though not married to each other, who may also be raising children (adopted children), are not regarded as a family; a man or a woman, who has not been married, with their child (children) or adopted child (adopted children) is not regarded as an incomplete family. A man and a woman who fulfil all the criteria of the harmonious family, multi-child family, family living through a crisis, or family at social risk, though who are not married to each other and who may be as well raising children (adopted children), also a man or a woman, who has not been married, with their child (children) or adopted child (adopted children) are not correspondingly regarded as a harmonious family, multi-child family, family living through a crisis, or family at social risk.

13. In this ruling it has been mentioned that, under Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution, family, also motherhood, fatherhood and childhood are constitutional values which must be fostered and protected in all ways possible.

It has also been mentioned that, under the Constitution, inter alia the provisions of Article 38 thereof, marriage is one of the bases of the constitutional institute of family for creating family relations, however, it does not mean that the Constitution, inter alia the provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 thereof, does not protect or defend families other than those founded on the basis of marriage, inter alia the relationship of a man and a woman living together without concluding a marriage, which is based on the permanent bonds of emotional affection, reciprocal understanding, responsibility, respect, shared upbringing of the children and similar ones, as well as on the voluntary determination to take on certain rights and responsibilities, which form a basis for the constitutional institutes of motherhood, fatherhood and childhood.

It has also been mentioned that, under the Constitution, inter alia the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the Seimas, as the institution of legislative power, when exercising its constitutional powers and regulating, by legal acts, family relations, inter alia formulating the notion of family, must heed the Constitution and the requirements stemming therefrom, inter alia those of equal rights, human dignity, and respect for private life.

14. It needs to be noted that the Seimas, after consolidating in the Concept, inter alia the provisions of Item 1.6 thereof, as approved by its resolution, such notions of family under which only a man and a woman who are married or were married, as well as their children (adopted children), are regarded as a family, has created preconditions to establish such legal regulation under which one does not protect and defend other family relations, inter alia those of the life of a man and a woman, who are not and were not married, as well as their children (adopted children) living together, that are based on the permanent bonds of emotional affection, reciprocal understanding, responsibility, respect, shared upbringing of the children and similar ones, as well as on the voluntary determination to take on certain rights and responsibilities, which are characteristic of the family as a constitutional institute.

It needs to be held that the Seimas, by establishing in the Concept, inter alia Item 1.6 thereof, as approved by its resolution, that only a man and a woman who are married or were married, as well as their children (adopted children), are regarded as a family, and in this way narrowing the content of the family as a constitutional institute, did not observe the concept of the family as a constitutional value, stemming from the Constitution, inter alia Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 thereof, which may be founded not only on the basis of marriage.

15. Thus, one needs to draw a conclusion that the Seimas Resolution “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008, to the extent that the Concept, inter alia the provisions of Item 1.6 thereof, as approved by this resolution, consolidate the notions of the harmonious family, multi-child family, extended family, family living through a crisis, incomplete family, family at social risk, and family that are founded (were founded) exclusively on the basis of marriage, is in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution.

16. It has been mentioned that, under the provisions of Item 5.8 of the Concept, which has the power of a sub-statutory legal act, the notions of family consolidated in the Concept, inter alia in Items 1.6.2–1.6.6, 1.6.8 and 1.6.9 thereof, are correspondingly binding on the lawmaking subjects—the Government when it prepares legal acts related to regulation of family relations and the Seimas when it considers and adopts laws and other legal acts designed to regulate family relations.

17. Thus, under the provisions of Item 5.8 of the Concept, the Seimas, when considering and adopting laws designed to regulate family relations, is bound by the notions of family that are, in a precise manner, entrenched in a legal act of lower power—the Concept approved by the Seimas resolution. In this way the legislator binds its constitutional powers to regulate, by laws, social relations of the family by a legal act of lower power. It needs to be noted that, as it has been held in this ruling, the notions of the harmonious family, multi-child family, extended family, family living through a crisis, incomplete family, family at social risk, and family that are founded (were founded) exclusively on the basis of marriage, which are entrenched in the provisions of the Concept, are in conflict with the Constitution.

18. It needs to be held that the Seimas, by approving by its resolution the Concept, under Item 5.8 whereof the Seimas, when considering and adopting laws designed to regulate family relations, is obliged to take account of the notions of family entrenched in a precise manner in the Concept and to adjust to them the provisions of future legal acts, and thus binding its constitutional powers to enact laws in the field of family policy, did not observe the requirement arising from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and other constitutional imperatives to heed the hierarchy of legal acts, inter alia the principle of the supremacy of laws in respect to sub-statutory legal acts.

19. It has been mentioned that, under the provisions of Item 5.8 of the Concept, not only the Seimas, when considering and adopting laws and other legal acts designed to regulate family relations, but also the Government, when preparing legal acts related to regulation of family relations, are obliged to take account of the provisions consolidated in the Concept and to adjust to them the provisions of future legal acts, i.e. the Government, when adopting sub-statutory legal acts in the field of family policy, is obliged to execute the Seimas commission that is issued not under the procedure of legislation and designed not for the implementation of laws.

20. In this context it needs to be noted that, under Item 2 of Article 94 of the Constitution, the Government executes laws and resolutions of the Seimas on the implementation of the laws.

21. As mentioned, the Concept, as approved by the Seimas resolution, provides for certain state family policy guidelines, its objectives, principles, course of actions and tasks and sets forth a certain position of the Seimas on the issue of the establishment of family policy.

22. It has been mentioned that it is evident from the Seimas competence established in Article 67 of the Constitution as well as the principle of the separation of powers entrenched in Article 5 of the Constitution, that the Seimas may not give the Government any direct instructions of normative character otherwise than under the procedure of legislation.

23. It has also been mentioned that, by the Concept, inter alia the provisions of Item 5.8 thereof, as approved by the Seimas resolution, the Seimas has obliged the Government, when preparing legal acts related to regulation of family relations, to take account of and adjust them to the provisions of the Concept.

Thus, by approving by its resolution the Concept, Item 5.8 whereof consolidates the obligation for the Government, when preparing legal acts related to regulation of family relations, to take account of the provisions entrenched in the Concept and adjust to them, inter alia to the notions of family consolidated in Item 1.6 of the Concept, the provisions of future legal acts, the Seimas did not observe the requirement arising from the Constitution, inter alia the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, to heed the principles of the hierarchy of legal acts and separation of powers.

24. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that the Seimas Resolution “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008, to the extent that the provisions of Item 1.6 of the State Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, consolidate the notions of the harmonious family, multi-child family, extended family, family living through a crisis, incomplete family, family at social risk, and family that are founded (were founded) exclusively on the basis of marriage, is in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution, and to the extent that Item 5.8 of the State Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, provides that the Seimas and the Government, when preparing legal acts in the field of family policy, take account of and adjust them to the provisions of this Concept, is in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

25. Having held this, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether the Seimas Resolution “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008 is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 6 and Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55, and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has passed the following

ruling:

To recognise that Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania No. X-1569 “On the Approval of the State Family Policy Concept” of 3 June 2008 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 69-2624), to the extent that the provisions of Item 1.6 of the State Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, consolidate the notions of the harmonious family, multi-child family, extended family, family living through a crisis, incomplete family, family at social risk, and family that are founded (were founded) exclusively on the basis of marriage, is in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and to the extent that Item 5.8 of the State Family Policy Concept, as approved by this resolution, provides that the Seimas and the Government, when preparing legal acts in the field of family policy, take account of and adjust them to the provisions of this Concept, is in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

The ruling is promulgated in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court: Egidijus Bieliūnas
                                                                      Toma Birmontienė
                                                                      Pranas Kuconis
                                                                      Gediminas Mesonis
                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė
                                                                      Egidijus Šileikis
                                                                      Algirdas Taminskas
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis