Lithuanian bishops have called on politicians to vote down proposed same-sex partnership legislation, quoting words used by Pope Francis to argue that civil unions distort the concept of marriage and family. Lithuania’s parliament last month voted to accept for further debate a draft bill legalizing same-sex civil partnerships, after voting down a similar bill in May 2021. In a pastoral letter to the faithful, the Lithuanian Bishops Conference — a body which unites the country’s bishops — quoted a 2016 treatise by Pope Francis which states “de facto unions or unions of the same sex cannot simply be equated with marriage”. “The draft law on civil unions essentially proposes what Pope Francis urges us not to do – to equate de facto unions and same-sex unions with marriage. We cannot support this bill, which distorts and devalues the concepts of marriage and the family,” the bishops wrote. The bishops said civil partnership could be “a Trojan Horse” leading to civil marriage. The letter did not touch on Pope Francis’ 2020 declaration that gays should be protected by civil union laws.