European Parliament asks Lithuania to reconsider homophobic laws

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Today the European Parliament called on Lithuanian MPs to reject an amendment to the Lithuanian Code of Administrative Offences. The proposed amendment would punish the ‘public promotion of homosexual relations’ with fines from €580 to €2,900.

Lithuanian flagSince 2009, Lithuania has amended its legislation to ban minors from accessing information on homosexuality, censor mentions of sexual orientation in advertising, and withdraw sexual orientation from the list of grounds protected by its educational equal opportunity policy.

Today’s resolution calls on Lithuanian law-makers to reject the proposed amendment put forward by MP Petras Gražulis of the Order and Justice party, and review previously-passed homophobic laws.

The resolution also welcomes positive developments in Lithuania, such as previous presidential vetoes on homophobic laws, and the inclusion of sexual orientation as a motive for hate crime.

Green MEP Ulrike Lunacek, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, commented: “We need to educate people—including children and youth—about the different forms of sexuality that have always existed in every culture, everywhere in the world, including in Lithuania. Hiding facts from young people generates fearful attitudes, prejudice and hate, something Europeans stand united against.”

ALDE MEP Sophie in’t Veld, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup, continued: “Governments claiming that LGBT rights are not part of their culture are misguided: oppressing and discriminating against part of the population cannot be defined as ‘culture’. It is high time the European Commission sets out a comprehensive strategy for LGBT equality, analogous to its strategies for gender equality or against racism and xenophobia.”

The European Parliament had already expressed its concern at the Law on the Protection of Minors from the Detrimental Effects of Information in September 2009.

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