On December 12th, 2014 the national LGBT* rights organization LGL submitted a complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania about hateful online comments regarding a same-sex kiss picture by two students from Kaunas. On December 8th, 2014 a young man posted a photo on social network “Facebook” showing him kissing his boyfriend. LGL discovered that the photo was followed by public comments that publicly incite hatred, mockery, humiliation, discrimination, as well as the use of physical force against persons based on sexual orientation.
By posting the aforementioned photo the two students announced to their friends and followers that they started dating each other. The photo was posted publicly and has reached an exceptional public attention. Some commentators have complimented the couple for showing their courage. The majority of the commentators, however, felt free to express their hatred.
In its complaint to the Office, LGL emphasized that some comments constituted offensive public information that encouraged to discriminate and physically assault gay people and, therefore, violated the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania and the Law on Provision of Information to the Public of the Republic of Lithuania. LGL encouraged the Prosecutor General to undertake an investigation under the Article 170 of the Criminal Code.
The national LGBT* rights organization LGL reminds that online comments inciting hatred on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, social status, religion, beliefs or opinions, are punishable under the criminal law. LGL encourages the victims of hate speech or hate crimes to report the incidents to the law enforcement officials or to fill in the LGL’s anonymous hate crime reporting form.