Foreign Minister: Homophobic bills harm Lithuania's image

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from 15 min:

Several bills currently under discussion at the Lithuanian parliament that, if passed, would restrict LGBT rights harms the country's image on the international arena, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius says.

"I think you will agree that Lithuania is not a homophobic country, and everyone trying to depict the situation differently may be trying to harm our image prior to the presidency (over the European Union Council), possibly without even knowing it. This is a fact," Linkevičius said at the parliament during the government's question-and-answer session on Thursday.

In his words, the proposed monetary fines to organizers of gay pride parades may run counter to the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the agreement on operations of the European Union (EU).

The foreign minister expressed certitude that parliamentary committees will discuss the controversial bills as soon as possible and put an end to them.

"My request - if I can make one – is that relevant parliamentary committees examine the situation without delay. I truly want to believe that such type of documents will not be discussed at this Seimas. I really want to believe that we will not give reasons to deem us something we are not," Linkevičius concluded.

On Tuesday, parliamentarians approved for discussion a few bills in connection to LGBT rights, namely, the amendment to the Code of Administrative Offenses drafted by Petras Gražulis of the Order and Justice Party that envisages fines for "defilement of Constitutional moral values and organization of events that run counter to public morals" and proposed changes to the Civil Code and Children's Rights Protection Law that would bar homosexuals from fostering or adopting children.

In July, Vilnius should host the second rally in support of equal rights for homosexuals.

Lithuania will take EU Council presidency on July 1.

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