Europe » Latvia
Gay Guide Latvia
The age of consent for all is 16 years. Same-sex acts are not punishable in Latvia. Consensual sex between adult men was legalised in 1992, shortly after Latvia gained independence from the USSR. However, same-sex relationships do not enjoy any legal status. Moreover, civil law has prohibited same-sex marriages since 1991 and the Latvian Basic Law has recently (since 2005) defined marriage exclusively as a relationship between a man and a woman. The bill for a partnership law for same-sex couples, which was submitted to parliament in 1999, was rejected at deliberation stage even before the actual plenary debate. Discrimination at the workplace based on sexual orientation has been illegal since 2006. In implementing this ban demanded by the EU, Latvia was at the bottom of the league among the member states. Parliament had originally completely removed any mention of sexual orientation from the labour law. But the President of Latvia refused to give his approval and demanded a revision. Although the Latvian gay culture is becoming increasingly visible and tolerant, some survey results are still quite negative. The pioneers of the anti-gay movement are the Churches. Cardinal Janis Pujat called homosexuality an "unnatural form of prostitution" and it should not be ennobled - for example by gay marriage. In 2006 only 12% of the Latvians questioned were in favour of it. In a survey conducted in 2015, the figure was 19%, but the Latvian figure was the second lowest in Europe after Bulgaria. The EuroPride with approx. 5,000 participants on 20 June 2015 was a great success in the capital Riga and started in the centrally located Vermanes Park. The parade ran over 2.2 kilometres through Riga's streets - four times longer than the previous Pride parades in Riga. Thanks to a large police force protecting the parade, any kind of violence could be prevented as it had occured in the years before. This EuroPride was historic as it was the first to take place in a successor state of the Soviet Union. The Baltic Pride in 2018 already attracted about 8000 visitors - and only a few counter-demonstrators. In addition to a small gay scene in Riga, Latvia has a fascinating history, culture and nature to discover.
Cities in Latvia
Location: Northeast Europe
International country code: 371
International access code: 00
Religions: 23% Roman Catholic, 20% Lutheran, 17% Russian Orthodox
Climate: Spring and summer (Apr-Sep) are the best times to visit. Winter weather (Nov-Mar) can be extreme.
Important gay cities: Riga