Letter of support from LGBT Labor, UK

Letter of support from LGBT Labor, UK
Mr Šedbaras,
Committee of Legal Affairs,
Lithuanian Parliament
by email
August 22, 2009
Dear Mr Šedbaras,
We are writing to you on behalf of LGBT Labour in the UK to express our deep concerns in reltion to the proposed Amendment to the Criminal Code XIP-668(2) and the proposed Amendment to the Administrative Code XIP-667(2) which aim to criminalise ‘propagation of homosexual relations’.   We also understand that you may be considering further amendments
If these amendments are adopted they will severly limit freedom of sppech and will be a  breach of the principles of equality and non-discrimination of the European Union and the Council of Europe. Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits any form of discrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation. Article 13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam bans ‘all forms of discrimination on the grounds of gender, race or ethnic background, religion or creed, disability and sexual orientation’. The European Court of Human Rights on a number of occasions has confirmed that sexual orientation discrimination is clearly in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Freedom of information is necessary both to obtain information from others about how to organise and campaign for equality, as well as medical and sociological information to enable people to protect themselves. Freedom of Association and Assembly are necessary for LGBT people to form organisations that work for self-help and equality, including through public manifestations, such as pride marches.
The proposed amendments by Lithuanian legislators to criminalise “promotion of homosexual relations in public places” will clearly violate the enjoyment of these human rights and will severely restrict the right of NGOs to organise peaceful public events
We are also concerned that young people who do not have access information to about ‘homosexual relations’ will result in a generation where you’re your young lgbt young people suffer mental ill health and high rates of suicide and where your young people who have perhaps been raised by same-sex parents believe that they are not equal to children raised by heterosexual parents
It is essential that children and young people have access to information to enable them to grow up to feel like they are respected and worthy citizens not misfits in society.  Your proposed laws would introduce a culture
 where it is acceptable for homophobic and transphobic bullying to be carried out against children which I am sure is not intended.
We would therefore ask you to consider the implications of these amendments extremely carefully and the effect it will have on the many people in Lithuania and also your country’s reputation in Europe as being supportive of equality and human rights for all.
Yours sincerely
Louise Ashworth
International Officer
LGBT Labour