“Family Casus”, Egalitarianism and Human Values

Saulius Kanišauskas


The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania issued an Act which
significantly extends the family notion and which is considered as an example of “family casus”. The concept “casus” is comprehended here in terms of Civil Law, i.e. as a precedent acquiring normative character. The paper focuses on the fact that the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania does not define the term family and it only relates it to a woman and man’s marriage which determines all family ties and psychological, economic and legal relations. This understanding of family concept is being argued by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania in attempt to appeal to single precedents of several Courts in different European countries and these precedents acquiring normative character. It is argued that the issued Act implies the liberty of family members without any commitment to the society rather than prioritising marriage which ensures family stability.
Not discussing the legitimacy problem of the Act of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the paper raises two questions: a) On what philosophical premises are taken for adoption of the Act which significantly extended the interpretation of the family concept? b) What are the possible outcomes in the context of retaining family and nation’s identity?
It is assumed that the family understanding interpretation by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania was determined by the ideology of new liberalism in which egalitarian ideas prevail. The source of this tendency can be traced back to the development and maturation of T. Hobbes conception of natural law and W.G. Hegel’s conception of history as an unfolding human freedom. Apparently, the new liberalism placed a high priority on the development of human freedom and emancipation; as a result, the progressive and requisite idea of human freedom development was transformed into the idea of exceptional freedom of marginal groups. On the one hand, it might endanger the identity of the family and the nation, on the other, if we confer the status of ontological value upon freedom, we distort the notion of value.


identity; values; family; marriage; nation; emancipation; new liberalism; egalitarianism

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236