LGL Objects Nomination of Ignas Vėgėlė’s Candidacy for the ECtHR Judge
Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) has publicly expressed its reservations with regards to the nomination of Ignas Vėgėlė’s candidacy for the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) as the Lithuanian judge due to his homophobic and transphobic attitudes. The Lithuanian nominee for the ECtHR Judge once said that “if we allow gender reassignment surgeries, homosexuals will start changing their sex in order to adopt children.”
In 2006 Mr. Vėgėlė on a live radio broadcast in relation to the rights of transsexual individuals (it can be accessed here in Lithuanian) stated that he was “shocked by an attempt to cure physical disease through surgical intervention” and that the right to marry for transsexual individuals intervene with the rights of third parties. In 2008 the Lithuanian nominee for the ECtHR Judge said that “if we allow gender reassignment surgeries, homosexuals will start changing their sex in order to adopt children.”
LGL is of a position that these attitudes stand in a sharp conflict not only with the ECtHR jurisprudence, but also with the spirit of the Convention, which is based on the principle of equality before the law and pluralist values. In addition to this, LGL is concerned that nominating a candidate with these kind of attitudes would be a clear sign that Lithuania is not willing to implement the L. v. Lithuania judgment by eventually adopting the Law on Gender Reassignment. On 28 March 2013 LGL has expressed its reservation in an open letter to the Prime Minister of Lithuania Algirdas Butkevičius and the Minister of Justice Juozas Bernatonis. Unfortunately, the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite signed a decree on Ignas Vėgėlė’s nomination for the ECtHR Judge on 26 March 2013.
The tenure of the current Lithuanian ECtHR Ms. Danutė Jočienė judge expires on 31 October 2013. Judges are elected by majority vote in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from the three candidates nominated by each contracting state. The Lithuanian President has nominated Mr. Egidijus Kūris, Ms. Lyra Jakulevičienė and Mr. Ignas Vėgėlė for the vote in the Parliamentary Assembly.