“Mixed” Court Ruling Leaves Uncertainty on Venue for Baltic Pride 2013 Parade in Vilnius

.LGL released the following statement in For LGBT Equality earlier today

The Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) today partially won its appeal against the decision of the Vilnius City Municipality to disallow the upcoming Baltic Pride march to be held on Gedimino Prospect, the main street of Vilnius. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court ruled that the decision of the municipality was not legal.

The organizers of Baltic Pride and the municipality must now restart the process of negotiating the location for the Baltic Pride march.

According to the court, the municipality cannot make a unilateral decision on the location of an assembly as had transpired in the case of Baltic Pride. In addition, the court stated that while provisions of law and third parties submissions must be taken into account when making a decision on public assembly, in this case the Police Department as third party did not state that the police would not be able to ensure public safety and order but merely that the Upės Street location would be more convenient for their work.

The municipality had issued a permit to hold the march at the isolated location of Upės Street due to security issues. LGL appealed the decision and requested once again that the march could be held on the main boulevard, arguing that holding the parade at the Upės Street location would be a restriction to the freedom of assembly of LGBT people and undermine the objectives of the march, i.e. for LGBT people to be visible, to show the public that LGBT people are an integrated part of Lithuanian society, and raise awareness of LGBT rights.

LGL was ably represented in court by lawyer Vytautas Mizaras. The municipality is obliged to compensate LGL’s legal costs, and has 14 days to appeal against the court’s ruling.

LGL considers the court decision to be a victory for civil society in Lithuania, and continues to plan the Baltic Pride march for Gedimino on 27 July 2013.

The article on today’s decision (in Lithuanian) can be accessed here.

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