Choice of a spouse

You have a right to freely choose whom you wish to marry. However, the Latvian law provides for certain restrictions regarding the choice of your spouse.

You have the right to marry a partner of your choice regardless of their origin or nationality. Legal provisions may restrict your choice, but this can only be done to protect important and legitimate interests. In Latvia, you cannot marry various categories of persons, such as your close relatives or persons of the same sex as you.


Marriage is prohibited between close blood relatives in a direct line (parents, grandparents, children, etc.), brothers and sisters, as well as between half-brothers and half-sisters.

Marriage cannot be concluded between an adoptive parent and an adoptee and, similarly between a legal guardian and his or her ward if the guardianship is not terminated.

note In Latvia, you can marry certain more distant relatives such as a cousin, parent-in-law and child-in-law.

Same-sex partners

The Latvian Constitution defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, while the Civil law expressly prohibits marriage between same-sex couples. Therefore, a marriage between partners of the same sex is not currently recognized by law.

However, the European Court of Human Rights has recognized that same-sex couples are just as capable of entering into stable, committed relationships as opposite-sex couples, and in certain situations may have a right to request legal recognition of their relationship. There is an emerging trend towards the legal recognition of same-sex couples in many European countries.

According to a recent judgment by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia, Latvian Parliament is bound to draft the legal regulation for relationship between same-sex partners. Although a State may freely choose the way in which it regulates marriage and civil partnerships, it nevertheless has to provide legal recognition and protection for all families.

note Same sex marriage is recognized at least in nine states in Europe: Belgium, France, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the Great Britain (except Northern Ireland).

Other states also provide alternative forms of recognition of the relationship between same-sex couples, such as a civil partnership. Read more about a factual relationship between homosexual partners and other issues related to this relationship that are not regulated in Latvian law.


Persons who have undergone gender reassignment and have officially changed their gender have the same rights and restrictions regarding a marriage procedure as any other person. Their marriage with a partner of the opposite sex will be officially recognized in Latvia.

important Please note that the state can require the dissolution of a marriage or may recognize it as legally invalid, if you have changed your gender but remain married to a partner who is of the same sex.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education