Lithuanian Parliament Rejects Candidate for Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson due to the Support for Same-Sex Partnership

On November 25, 2014 the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas rejected yet another candidate for the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. In a secret ballot, 48 MPs voted in favor of appointing lawyer Diana Gumbrevičiūtė-Kuzminskienė to the position, 42 were against and 18 abstained.

MP Dalia Kuodytė criticized the vote as disgraceful, saying that the outcome reflected the prevailing homophobic atmosphere at the Lithuanian Parliament. “I will applaud anyone here who will show enough courage to say that Seimas is homophobic” – declared the MP Kuodytė after the announcement of the voting results.

During the hearing in the Parliament the MP Gediminas Jakavonis from the Labor Party tried to discredit Ms. Gumbrevičiūtė-Kuzmickienė by referring to her professional involvement with the national LGBT* rights organization LGL. “The candidate intentionally concealed her constant participation in the seminars organized by Lithuanian gays and lesbians. She received money for that,” – stated the MP Jakavonis. He further elaborated that “the candidate is clearly identified as an expert in the strategic litigation programme by Lithuanian gays and lesbians.” “Her appointment to the position of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson would create a conflict of interest regarding her engagement with such controversial organization,” – insisted MP Jakavonis.

MP Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė from the Social Democratic Party argued that MPs dismissed the qualified candidate despite her competence and successful professional career.

Ms. Gumbrevičiūtė-Kuzminskienė runs an established law company. She also lectures at Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius. In 2013 she was honored as a Human Rights Advocate of the Year during the National Equality and Diversity Awards for representation of socially most vulnerable groups and their human rights.

In her recent hearing at the Lithuanian parliament the ex-candidate for the position of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson expressed her unequivocal support for same-sex partnerships.

In December, 2013 the Lithuanian Parliament rejected previously recommended candidate Ms. Lyra Jakulevičienė for Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights Ms. Edita Žiobienė is currently acting as the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson in Lithuania.