At the last moment, the Seimas [Parliament] refused to legalise the right to mock people’s sexual orientation, beliefs and attitudes, yet decided that any information containing a positive attitude towards homosexual, bisexual or polygamous relations has a negative impact on children.
This is what is stated in the proposed Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information, which was approved by MPs on Tuesday by an overwhelming majority of votes. The proposed law was approved by 67 representatives from all parliamentary fractions, three politicians voted against it, and four politicians abstained.
Most arguments were fuelled by one item contained in the article defining the information having a detrimental effect on minors. The amendment that raised the clamour during the Seimas meeting was proposed by Petras Gražulis, a member of the Order and Justice political group.
It was specified in the proposed law that information having a detrimental effect on the development of minors should include mocking people’s nationality, race, sex, origins, disability, sexual orientation, social status, language, religion, beliefs and attitudes. Mr Gražulis proposed removing the “sexual orientation” and “beliefs and attitudes” items. The words regarding sexual orientation did not please the Labour Party political group member Mečislovas Zasčiurinskas either.
“We want to legalise them [sexual minorities—DELFI] as a value. It means that we may still mock alcohol and drug addicts, whereas they will become some sort of elite”, Mr Gražulis said, expressing his anger at the microphone. According to him, this way Christian values are despised and sin is put above everything else.
The Seimas member claimed that there are “particularly many” people of non-traditional sexual orientation in Brussels and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Have we become a minority in the Seimas, and aren’t we able to adopt proper laws anymore?”
He was supported by Egidijus Klumbys, also a member of the Order and Justice political group. According to Mr Klumbys, the prohibition against mocking sexual orientation contradicts the Constitution. “According to the Constitution, no privileges based on gender may be granted. Today, gender disappears. It means that mocking it will be allowed. Sexual orientation is a belief and nothing more. It is what one bases one’s further life on”, the MP claimed.
“The strangest thing is that such amendments are proposed in this Seimas, which to a large extent comprises conservative Christian Democrats promoting family values. I don’t understand what is going on here”, he added.
In her turn, Vilija Aleknaitė-Abramikienė, member of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrat political group, proposed adhering to the Christian principle of respect for persons. She quoted Christian writings, in which “all people are equal, and were created in God’s image”. “Homosexuality is considered a sin, but only as actions, whereas the person is respected”, she explained.
Parliament members had to cast votes concerning Mr Gražulis’ proposal as many as three times. At first, they approved the proposed amendment. During the second vote, the number of those voting for was equal to the number of those voting against and abstaining. Finally, during the third vote, the amendment was rejected.
It should be mentioned that had the amendment been adopted, it would have contradicted the Law on Equal Opportunities. Pursuant to this law, everyone must be provided with equal opportunities regardless of their sex, race, nationality, language, origins, social status, faith, beliefs or attitudes, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic background, and religion.
The Social Democrat Algirdas Sysas, who encouraged rejecting the draft, claimed that it would have contradicted the Law on Equal Opportunities, worsened Lithuania’s position in the international arena, and given rise to xenophobia and intolerance. “I don’t want Lithuania to be presented as a country which year after year violates human rights”, his fellow party member Vytenis Andriukaitis said.
There were plans to have a final vote on the proposed Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information and accompanying amendments to the Law on Cinema that provoked so much controversy last week, but the Liberal Movement political group requested a postponement prior to the final vote. Another postponement was requested on Tuesday by the Order and Justice political group.
The law classifies information that has a detrimental effect on the emotional, physical, mental or moral development of minors as any information depicting violence (the injury, torture or killing of humans and/or animals is shown in detail); provoking fear or terror; encouraging people to gamble, injure, or kill themselves; or showing deliberate damage or destruction of property.
Furthermore, it is information that contains a positive evaluation of dependency on drugs, tobacco or alcohol or encourages people to purchase such items; that contains a positive evaluation of criminal activity or idealisation of criminals; that encourages homosexual, bisexual or polygamous relations; that distorts family relations or despises family values; or that encourages poor nutritional or bodily care habits and physical passivity.
It is stated that a detrimental effect on minors is made by information that shows the body of a dead, dying or cruelly injured person (unless such demonstration is necessary to establish the identity of the person); information that is erotic in nature (encouraging sexual desire or showing sexual intercourse or the imitation thereof, other types of sexual satisfaction, sexual organs, or sex tools); information that demonstrates paranormal phenomena or creates the impression of the reality of such phenomena; information that uses obscene expressions, words or gestures; information that provides advice on how to make, purchase or use explosives, narcotics or psychotropic substances, or other dangerous items; or information that demonstrates a human being hypnotised.
One item—regarding information about homosexual relations—received criticism on the international scale.
As the Seimas has refused to compare homosexuality to bestiality and necrophilia, as well as refusing to make it a crime to circulate information about such acts, Petras Gražulis, parliamentarian has found people supporting his views and has offered to prohibit propagation of homosexual relations in public. Incidentally, these politicians do not consider bestiality and necrophilia as crimes which should be punished.
On Tuesday, P. Gražulis and members of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats Kazimieras Uoka, Kazimieras Kuzminskas, Petras Luomanas, Justinas Urbanavičius, member of the Order and Justice Algimantas Dumbrava, as well as member of the National Resurrection Party Jonas Stanevičius registered an amendment in respect of this to the Penal Code.
According to this amendment, a person agitating for homosexual relations in public places is committing a criminal act which is punishable via community works or fine, or arrest. Legal entities, e.g. homosexual organizations, should also be liable.
As is known, last week the Seimas rejected the amendments of the Penal Code and the Code of Violations of Administrative Law prepared by P. Gražulis suggesting that homosexuality should be compared to bestiality and necrophilia.
In this project, it was suggested that public propagation of homosexuality, bestiality and necrophilia would be fined LTL 1–5 thousand, punished by arrest, community works or imprisonment of up to one year.