Concerns over Lithuanian draft law to “ban propagation of homosexuality”

Today,2 June 2009, the Lithuanian Parliament, the Seimas, will vote on an amendment to the Law on the Protection of Minors against Detrimental Effects of Public Information aimed at banning access to information on homosexuality and bisexuality.

0
2
EU

The amendment asserted that ‘a detrimental effect on the development of minors’ is caused by ‘public information that agitates for homosexual relations’ and that ‘defies family values’. The legislative change would put information about homosexuality and bisexuality on par with issues such as the portrayal of physical violence, the display of a cruelly mutilated body of a person and information that encourages self-mutilation or suicide.

ILGA-Europe has written to the Speaker of the Seimas and to parliamentary committees to express its serious concerns that this change in the law will lead to the banning of any information on homosexuality and bisexuality if it could be accessed by minors.

ILGA-Europe also reminded the Lithuanian authorities of the country’s obligations under international and European human rights instruments. Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Lithuania has a legal obligation to act “in the best interests of the child”, which includes respecting the child’s right to be free from discrimination, including that based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as obligations regarding freedom of expression.

We call on the Lithuanian parliamentarians to reject this proposal.

Dirk De Meirleir, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“This is a shocking and absurd development in one of the EU Member States. Just a few days ago even the Russian Federation’s parliament rejected similar proposal. If this proposal will be adopted Lithuania will be the only EU Member States with such a bizarre and pointless piece of legislation.

While it is clear that the proposal is pointless, it is also very dangerous as, if adopted, this law will prevent any information and therefore support available to young people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual. It is not a secret that LGB teenagers are one of the risk groups in terms of suicide attempts. By introducing such medieval law young LGB people in Lithuania will be completely prevented from any local sources of information and support.

We call on the Lithuanians parliamentarians to come to their senses and not to fall victims of homophobic hysteria.”