Lithuanian Parliament to Vote on Russian Style “Anti-Gay Propaganda” Law Again

On November 10th, 2015 at 11 AM the notorious “anti-gay propaganda” bill unexpectedly appeared on the Lithuanian Parliament’s agenda again. The consideration of the draft amendment to the Code of Administrative Violations No. XIP-4490(3), which seeks to introduce administrative liability for any public denigration of the “constitutional family values” was postponed until the final hearing on November 12th, 2015.

The proposed amendment, intention of which does not differ from so-called “homosexual propaganda” law in Russia, was first put to vote in March, 2014. Back then the bill mysteriously disappeared from the Parliament’s agenda one day before the final voting due to the pressure by the international community.

According to the proposal, such actions as carrying out public speeches, demonstrating goods, posters, slogans and audio-visual materials, as well as organizing public events such as Baltic Pride March for Equality would result in an administrative fine ranging from EUR 300 to EUR 900 and in case of repeated violation – from EUR 900 to EUR 1800. Due to its unlimited scope, this legislative motion is extremely dangerous for the LGBT* movement in Lithuania.

The bill was proposed by MP Petras Gražulis. The MP stated that the rationale for the amendment had arisen from the “current weaknesses of the Lithuanian legal system, when promotion of the harmonious, traditional family values is often estimated as unfounded and illegal discrimination against sexual minorities for their sexual orientation”. According to the proponent of the amendment, “the faulty practice appears when the fight against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is being used as a shield. As a consequence, traditional family values are being discriminated, which are appreciated by the people, who value heterosexual sexual relations”.

As stated by the international and local human rights experts, this law would restrict the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly enshrined in Articles Nos. 9 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Articles Nos. 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). The law would be discriminatory against LGBT* individuals, therefore in breach of Lithuania’s obligation to prohibit discrimination as enshrined in Article No. 2 of ICCPR, Article No. 14 of ECHR and Article No. 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as infringing upon the right to freedom to receive information on LGBTI rights and other issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The national LGBT* rights organization LGL expresses its deep concern over the legislative initiative aiming at limiting the fundamental rights of LGBT* individuals in Lithuania. The association LGL hopes that such discriminatory legislative initiative will be rejected by the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania and the rights of the citizens of Lithuania will be respected without any discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Read more about all homophobic and transphobic initiatives to be considered at the autumn session of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.