On June 16, 2015 media reports quoted Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius as saying that a civil partnership bill was being discussed with the leaders of the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church. The discussion centered around whether or not the bill would apply to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Butkevicius was confident that there were grounds to reach a common agreement, but a few days earlier, Minister of Justice Juozas Bernatonis, opposed to civil partnership for homosexual couples but in favor of heterosexual partnership, had boldly stated that he did not see any problem in homosexual couples living outside of any legal regulation, deeming them “statistically irrelevant” and incompatible with traditional family values.
In contemporary Lithuania religion is becoming more public, but at the same time more individual and private. Generally, in the Lithuanian public sphere religion means Roman Catholicism. The reasons for this are manifold. Firstly, demographical data (2001 and 2011 population censuses) shows that more than 77 % of the population consider themselves Catholic. Furthermore, the Catholic Church can be considered a “national Church” in that it supported the nation’s struggle for independence from the Soviet Union, thus gaining a special status within society.