Two Members of Lithuanian Parliament Pass Antigay Proposals on First Reading
On 21 May 2013 the Lithuanian Parliament accepted the amendment to the Code of Administrative Violations by introducing administrative liability for “public denigration of constitutional moral values and of constitutional fundamentals of the family life, as well as organization of public events contravening public morality” (proposed by MP Petras Gražulis) and the amendment to the Law on the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child stipulating that “every child has the natural right to a father and a mother, emanating from sex differences and mutual compatibility between motherhood and fatherhood” (proposed my MP Jonas Rimantas Dagys) for the parliamentary deliberation.
74 MPs participated in the voting on the amendments to the Code of Administrative Violations. 50 MPs voted in favor (68%), 10 MPs – against (13%) and 14 MPs abstained (19%).
Now the proposal will be evaluated by the Committee on Human Rights and will be returned to the parliamentary deliberation in the course of the autumn’s session. According to the current proposal, the “denigration of constitutional values” would result in an administrative fine ranging from 300 to 900 euros (in case of repeated violation – from 900 to 1800 euros).
76 MPs participated in the voting on the amendments to the Law on the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child. 56 MPs voted in favor (74%), 4 MPs – against (5%) and 16 MPs abstained (21%). Now the proposal will be evaluated by the Committee on Social Affairs and Labor and will be returned to the parliamentary deliberation in the course of the autumn’s session.
The current proposal seeks to establish that in the course of adoption or foster care procedure the priority is given to the need of a child to have different-sex (foster) parents, who would be able to bear the duties of fatherhood and motherhood in the family, thus effectively prohibiting any future discussion on same-sex adoption.According to the LGL Board Chair Vladimir Simonko, these legislative initiatives clearly demonstrate institutionalized prejudice and hostility towards the local LGBT* community in the Lithuanian politics.
The level of offensive language about LGBT people by politicians and similar legislative initiatives definitely contribute to the climate of non-acceptance in the Lithuanian society, thus not only ignoring the problems of discrimination and harassment on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, but further exacerbating the situation.
The EU LGBT survey, published by FRA on 17 May 2013, indicated that 61% members of the Lithuanian LGBT community felt harassed or discriminated in the last 12 months – this ratio is the highest in the whole EU and exceeds the EU average by 14%.
Lithuania will taken upon the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July 2013. LGL is currently engaged in the judicial proceeding with Vilnius City Municipality with regards to the location of the Baltic Pride 2013 on 27 July 2013. Despite the fact that the first instance court ruled that the unilateral decision by the municipal authorities to relocate the March for Equality to rather isolated and inaccessible area was illegal, the Municipality has appealed against this decision by indicating that the municipal authorities have the right to propose a location for a public assembly other than demanded by the organizers. The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania will rule on the case on 18 June 2013.
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