By Jenna Murphy

VILNIUS, Lithuania, June 10, 2008, ( – The Lithuanian Parliament passed legislation last week that defines family in the Baltic state as the married union of man and a woman together with their children, adopted or biological.

The Lithuanian constitution already confirms traditional marriage as the only legal option as it reads that “marriage shall be concluded upon the free mutual consent of man and woman.” However, the recently passed legislation, referred to as the “Family Policy Concept,” has further clarified the definition of family in the eyes of the country’s legal system.

In December 2005, the Baltic state of Latvia also explicitly specified that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.

Aside from Lithuania’s new political ‘Family Concept’, Valdemar Tomasevski, a Lithuanian Parliamentarian, has proposed legislation for the protection of “pre-natal fetuses” in the hope of banning abortion from the country.

In a 100-signature-petition, members of the European parliament from 19 different countries of the European Union (EU) have affirmed Lithuania’s intent to pursue legislation for the protection of the unborn.

“There is no conflict between either European law or political commitments arising from European integration and legislative measures aimed at providing better legal protection for unborn children. We welcome Lithuanian parliamentarians’ efforts to ensure better protection for children prior to birth,” reads the petition from the members of the EU.

Lithuania was one of the first countries (former Soviet Union) to legalize abortion in 1955. Since its legalization Lithuania’s birth rate has plummeted, with abortion becoming the primary means of birth control in many cases.