On April 24, LRT (National Lithuanian Radio and Television Network) invited presidential candidates to participate in a discussion regarding important social issues. President Dalia Grybauskaite was busy with her schedule and could not attend, but the other candidates- Zigmantas Balcytis, Arturas Paulauskas, Naglis Puteikis, Bronis Rope, Valdemaras Tomasevskis and Arturas Zuokas- shared their opinions about social policy, education, and healthcare.
Candidates debated about abortion, same-sex marriage and child-bearing, LGBT parades, wage gap and social security tax issues.
The first to declare his position towards same-sex marriage and partnership was Zigmantas Balcytis, who brought up the example of Belgium, where society did not view it positively at first, but the situation got better with time.
“Every country tackles this question differently. I stand for acknowledging that those people are among us, and they belong to our society. (…) I stand for educating society, and this is a task for all politicians“, Z. Balcytis said, avoiding to choose sides.
When asked to clarify his position, he evaded the question saying that “we should respect the issues sexual minorities are facing“.
A. Paulauskas described himself as a “democratic person“, but clearly stated that marriage should be granted for heterosexual couples (a man and a woman) only.
“I am against same-sex marriage and adoption“, said A. Paulauskas.
“If I were to win the presidential elections, I will protect all people. However, the traditional family structure has to remain untouched, because it is the basis of society“, said A. Paulauskas, claiming that society has to produce offspring, and same-sex couples could not fulfil this function.
B. Rope stood up for traditional family. A. Zuokas declared that he stands for the legalization of same-sex partnership, but is against same-sex marriage and adoption.
V. Tomasevskis seemed to get confused while speaking about homosexuality, declaring it “a state, a disease and an evil force“. He especially emphasized being against adoption, claiming it would come close to “deviance“.
He was exasperated about the sex talk during the debate, arguing that “society does not need these problems“.