Open letter to the members of the Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights of the European Parliament

We, the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL), an established LGBT-organization in Lithuania, are writing to inform you about an alarming development in Lithuanian politics. We are asking for your attention and for your support.

A few months ago a group of MPs introduced a bill which proposes to amend the existing Law on the Protection of Minors against Detrimental Effect of Public Information which in brief would deem any ‘propagation of homosexual relations’ a new part of the law. The proposed bill will be discussed and put to a vote sometime during the autumn session. It is yet not specified what exactly would be defined as ‘propagation’, but it suggests that films about homosexuals as well as websites such as our own would be banned to minors.

The motivation behind the bill is, according to the authors, the propagation of non-traditional sexual relationships on television and in the press, which in their view is becoming increasingly common: “Minors are one of the most vulnerable groups of society and they still do not have firm views on life”, the authors explain. “The propagation of a non-traditional sexual orientation and exposure to information containing positive coverage of homosexual relations may therefore cause negative consequences for the physical, mental and, first and foremost, moral development of minors.”

We find these developments absurd and of course of great concern. Several Lithuanian MPs have on previous occasions expressed homophobic viewpoints, and we are worried that the bill will go through successfully. We have approached the Lithuanian parliament and are hoping to start a dialogue. We are also hoping that our European partners will join in the dialogue and help us apply pressure on the Lithuanian parliament. The proposed article is directly contradicting the law, not to mention the values of the EU and it needs to be made very clear that it is not tolerated within the Union.

The support we are asking you for is to join us in applying pressure on the Lithuanian parliament. There are three relevant key people in the Lithuanian parliament, namely the parliamentary speaker Viktoras Muntianas, the chairman of the Committee on Human Rights Arminas Lydeka and the chairman of the Committee on Education, Science and Culture Virginijus Domarkas. We are asking you to join our forces, approach these representatives, and denounce the suggested amendment. A joint European response might be crucial to convince Lithuanian politicians at least of the level of inappropriateness of the proposed bill.