The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Criticizes Homophobic and Transphobic Legislative Initiatives in Lithuania

Group of members in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have criticized several legislative initiatives as homophobic and allegedly infringing upon fundamental freedoms of LGBT* people as well as promoting discrimination.

The Lithuanian Parliament is to consider four homophobic or transphobic legislative initiatives in its autumn session: a total ban on gender reassignment, prohibition of same-sex adoption, an amendment to the Criminal Code by which “criticisms of homosexuality” would not constitute hate speech, and the introduction of administrative liability for the “Denigration of constitutional moral values and of constitutional fundamentals of family life, as well as organization of public events contravening public morality”.

The Lithuanian parliament is also considering an amendment to the Law on Public Meetings, under which the organizers of public assemblies would have to cover all expenses in relation to ensuring safety and public order. The statement from PACE says that this would “render the organization of Pride marches virtually impossible, given violent opposition by homophobic groups, and the consequent extensive and costly security requirements.”

The statement signed this week by 20 PACE delegates states that the above mentioned initiatives are not only a serious attack against minorities seeking equality, but also an overall promotion of discrimination.  As such, they have no place in a Parliament which respects the principles of democracy and human rights.

The signatories represent mainly the socialists, as well as parties from the center. Among the signatories there are five Swedes, four Poles, three Danes and Icelanders, two French, as well as Turkish, Spanish, Andorran politicians. The statement also noted that it commits only those who have signed it.

Group the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly