The Parliament Will Consider Five Homophobic Bills in Autumn Session

On 5 September 2013 the Spokesperson of the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas presented the proposal for the agenda of the Parliament’s autumn session. According to the draft agenda, the Parliament will consider 4 homophobic and transphobic legislative initiatives, encompassing the total ban on gender reassignment, prohibition of same-sex adoption, introduction of administrative liability for the “denigration of constitutional moral values” and the amendment to the Criminal Code, which would qualify “criticisms of homosexuality” as not constituting hate speech. In addition to this, the Parliament will have to decide, whether to open the amendment to the Law on Public Meetings, requesting that the organizers of the public assemblies have to cover all the expenses in relation to ensuring safety and public order in the course of an event themselves, for the parliamentary deliberation. It is foreseen that all the above indicated legislative motions will have been considered by the Parliament by December, 2013.

A draft amendment to the Civil Code No. XIIP-17 places a total ban on gender reassignment surgeries in Lithuania. The explanatory note on the controversial proposal states that Lithuanian society ‘views gender reassignment as very controversially; society is not ready to accept gender reassignment practices due to certain psychosocial reasons, and therefore the permission to undergo gender reassignment surgeries will lead to a number of medical and ethical issues’. Moreover, it ignorantly states that it is impossible to reassign gender surgically because it ‘is determined genetically from the very moment of conception’ and that gender reassignment procedure ‘is associated with the radical impairment of a person, because physically healthy persons who are able to conceive and raise children are castrated in this manner’.

The draft amendment to the Code of Administrative Violations No. XIP-4490(2) introduces administrative liability for “public denigration of constitutional moral values and of constitutional fundamentals of the family life, as well as organization of public events contravening public morality”. The bill was proposed by MP PetrasGražulis in May, 2013 in reaction to the upcoming Baltic Pride 2013 March for Equality.

The draft amendment to the Law on the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child No. XIP-473 stipulates that “every child has the natural right to a father and a mother, emanating from sex differences and mutual compatibility between motherhood and fatherhood”. The proponent of the amendment MP Jonas Rimantas Dagys has clearly indicated that this legislative initiative is aiming at preventing any further public discussion on the issue of same-sex adoption.

The draft amendment to the Criminal Code No. XIIP-687 seeks to establish that the criticism of homosexuality and attempts to change one’s sexual orientation would not be qualified as discrimination or harassment on grounds of sexual orientation. It seeks to amend the Criminal Code by inserting a provision that “the criticism of sexual behavior or sexual practices, convictions or believes, or persuasion to change this behavior, practices, convictions or believes cannot per se be qualified as harassment, denigration, incitement to hatred, discrimination or incitement to discrimination”. This amendment was already considered in the Parliament’s spring session, but the final decision on whether to place this legislative motion on the Parliament’s agenda was postponed, speculatively, due to the upcoming beginning of the Lithuanian EU Presidency.

On 3 September 2013 MP Petras Gražulis registered an amendment to the Law on Public Meetings, requesting that the organizers of the public assemblies have to cover all the expenses in relation to ensuring safety and public order in the course of an event themselves. This legislative motion was introduced as a response to the information, provided by the Police Department, that protection of the public order and safety of the participants in the course of the Baltic Pride 2013 March for Equality cost LT 182’000 (i.e. EUR 53’000). The Parliament will have to decide whether to place this legislative amendment on its agenda in the first place.

The Parliament’s autumn session takes place between September and December of the particular year in question. It is usually characterized by the heated political debates due to the fact that the voting on the next year’s budget of the State is taking place in December.