Posters with the slogans have been put up in Lithuania's largest cities: 40 in Vilnius, 15 in Kaunas and Klaipėda, eight in Šiauliai, seven in Panevėžys, four in Alytus, three in Marijampolė, two in Utena and Tauragė, and one in Mažeikiai, Jonava, and Kėdainiai, the ministry told BNS. According to the press release, the campaign will last two weeks and cost 24,700 litas (EUR 7,160).
The ministry said that the campaign was expected to "trigger an active discussion within the society about the importance of marriage and a family, thus reinforcing the said institutions."
"The institutions of marriage and family are stipulated in Article 38 of the Constitution, which specifies an unquestionable link between marriage and family. It is a historically-formed model of a family, which certainly has an exclusive value in public life, ensuring vitality and historic survival of the nation and the state," reads the press release.
In late December 2011, the parliament gave its initial backing to a draft constitution proposal stating that "family shall be concluded upon free mutual consent of a man and a woman to enter into marriage." The parliament is scheduled to hold the first hearing of the bill during the spring session that started on 10 March.
The constitutional amendment linking family and marriage was drafted by 98 members of the Lithuanian parliament after the Constitutional Court ruled in September that provisions of Lithuania's state family concept, which only lists individuals living in wedlock as family, runs counter the Constitution.
At the same time, the court said that family can be built not only on the basis of marriage, adding that the form of a relationship did not have major bearing upon the constitutional concept of family.
Some MPs and a number of NGOs oppose the motion to ammend the Constitution, saying that the proposed provisions are discriminatory towards single parents, unmarried households or same-sex couples. MP Aušrinė Marija Pavilionienė of the Social Democrats, who is among the most vocal opponents of the initiative, says that the state must not interfere into the citizens' private affairs, adding that such legislation on morality brings the country back to the 19 century.
Some analysts believe that the ammendment, which does not require a referendum but merely two votes in the Parliament with a 3-month interval, is a conservative-led attempt to prevent any future moves towards legalizing same-sex marriage or partnership.
The current version of Article 38 of the Constitution suggests that family is the basis of society and the state; family, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood are under the protection and care of the state, marriage is concluded upon free mutual consent of a man and a woman.