WEEKS after Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, Petras Vaitiekunas, told the mainly Catholic country’s parliament that “Lithuania is one of the most homophobic countries in the EU – this has to be viewed as a fact”, a law that could make life even worse for Lithuania’s gay population looks set to be enacted in the New Year.
According to this report, the Lithuanian parliament last week accepted amendments to the law on the protection of minors.
One amendment asserts that “a detrimental effect on the development of minors” is caused by “public information that agitates for homosexual relations” which “defy family values”.
LGBT advocacy group Tolerant Youth Association (TJA) said:
Neither agitation nor family values are defined in the newly-approved law proposal, therefore it would allow a ban on basically any non-negative information on homosexuality.
It would be possible not only to ban websites and films (egÂ Brokeback Mountain) positively presenting homosexual relations, but also discos, exhibitions, demonstrations and other public events related to homosexuality if these could be accessed by minors.
The proposed legislation is expected to be adopted next year but will go before a Parliamentary committee first.
A change in the law will make a bad situation even worse for gay people in this EU country. At present homosexuals are barred from holding Pride marches by the authorities in the capital Vilnius.
In April the Council of Europe formally expressed concern over the situation in the country for the first time since it broke from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Twice last year gay activists were banned from displaying the rainbow flag, an international symbol of gay rights.
In May 2007 the Mayor of Vilnius refused to give permission for an anti-discrimination truck tour to visit the city. The truck was part of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All campaign, but Mayor Imbrasas claimed it could cause a security risk and riots.
Most EU countries have adopted strongly progressive laws regarding gay rights, and if Lithuania cannot accept these, and insists on wallowing in primitive religious bigotry, it should get the hell out of the European Union now. It will probably feel much more at home in an alliance with backward Muslim nations with which it seems to have so much more in common.
HAT TIP: KregusX