On 14 June, 2016 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania and ambassadors residing in Lithuania publicly expressed their support for the local LGBT* community and Baltic Pride 2016 March for Equality in Vilnius. Four embassies of countries with European Union membership – Poland, Hungary, Romania and Greece – abstained from contributing.
“LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) rights are human rights, which everyone should support and respect”, says a statement distributed to the public.
Diplomats have expressed support for relatives of those killed in the attack on a gay club in Orlando, USA, and emphasized their support for “efforts to further public awareness of LGBTI community issues in the three Baltic states.”
“Human rights are universal and apply to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,” the declaration stressed.
The letter was signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the embassies of Ireland, Austria, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Israel, Canada, the United States, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and Germany.
Aistė Ašmontaitė-Bartaševičienė, spokeswoman for the Dutch embassy, told BNS that the letter was sent to all embassies in Lithuania, inviting all to join voluntarily.
According to her, the embassies of Poland, Hungary, Romania and Greece did not respond. These embassies confirmed to BNS that they received an invitation to join, but gave no comment on why they did not do so.
“The embassy believes that statements on this matter are unnecessary,” the spokeswoman of the Hungarian embassy told BNS.
The Romanian embassy promised to the organizers to reply, but had not commented at the time of publication. The Polish and Greek embassies did not comment on whether or not they support the resolution and the event itself, though the latter stated its support for LGBT rights.
“Greece is a member of the European Council and supports LGBTI rights,” a representative of the Greek embassy informed BNS.
The Baltic Pride March for Equality is taking place in Vilnius for the third time – its participants will march down Gedimino Ave. from Lukiškių Square to Bernardinų Garden. It is expected that up to 1000 people will participate in the event.