Homophobic Draft Laws on Lithuanian Parliament’s Spring Agenda

H U M A N   R I G H T S   /   L G B T   R I G H T S

by Lithuanian LGBT Rights Organization / LGL

Reposted from the LGL site with permission

On the 19th of March, 2015, the spring work agenda of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania (the Seimas) was approved. First, it contains a long list of initiatives seeking to limit LGBT* rights.

First, there is the infamous Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, which states that “family is the foundation of society and the state” and is formed by the marriage of a man and woman. It should be noted that 108 Members of Parliament signed this amendment, which was put forth by Conservative Rimantas Jonas Dagys.

MP Dagys also proposed to amend the Law on Fundamentals of Child Rights Protection of the Republic of Lithuania to specify that children have the “inherent right to a father and a mother.” Difference in parental gender allegedly ensures the protection of children’s interests in the event of foster-care or adoption, so laws claiming otherwise must therefore be prohibited. The politician has also registered these amendments in the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania, thereby seeking to further entrench these views. Furthermore, the legal regulations of family relations would be supplemented with the principle of “maternal and paternal mutual complementarity.”

There are also proposals to amend the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Republic of Lithuania to ban speech, displayed objects, posters, slogans, audiovisual media and other actions that show contempt for family values. Offenses would be punished with a fine of a few thousand euros. The proposal’s explanatory notes state that the amendment is necessary to ensure the protection of heterosexual people from discrimination during LGBT* events.

Lithuanian MPs proposed an amendment to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania to limit the ban on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation with exceptions. According to this amendment, sexual behavior, practices, beliefs, critical opinions and discussions, or attempts to persuade others to change such behaviors, practices, beliefs and attitudes, do not constitute bullying, stigmatization, incitement of hatred, discrimination, or the promotion of discrimination. This is particularly detrimental to our society because people from many EU Member States typically fail to notice hate crimes committed against LGBT* people and rarely admit knowing a homosexual person, as shown by data from the Fundamental Rights Agency.

Despite Lithuania having lost the case against L. in the European Court of Human Rights, the state is not hurrying to implement measures necessary for the protection of transgender rights. By failing to regulate gender reassignment procedures, MPs aim to eliminate the possibility of undergoing such procedures in Lithuania and to legitimize the vicious practice of requiring individuals who received treatment abroad to go to court in order to change their personal documents.

The number of homophobic initiatives has not been decreasing with each parliamentary session. Although these measures are fortunately not always accepted, and are often delayed or rejected, the proposal of such initiatives contributes to the promotion of a hostile social environment for many people in Lithuania.

The national LGBT* rights organization LGL seeks to start a dialogue with the Parliament’s leadership to discuss the hardships and legal situation of LGBT* people in Lithuania. However, parliamentary leadership has not yet responded to this invitation to collaborate.

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