Lithuanian Parliament to vote on Russian style anti-gay “propaganda law”
Despite the international pressure and concern, tomorrow (13 March) Lithuanian Parliament will vote on the draft amendment to the Code of Administrative Violations No. XIP-4490(3) which seeks to introduce administrative liability for any public defiance of the constitutionally established family values. According to the proposal, such actions as carrying out public speeches, demonstrating goods, posters, slogans and audio-visual means, as well as organizing public events such as gay prides would result in an administrative fine ranging from 1000 to 3000 LTL (corresponding to approximately 300 to 900 Euro) and in case of repeated violation – from 3000 to 6000 LTL (900 to 1800 Euro).
The proposed amendment, intention of which does not differ from so called “homosexual propaganda” law in Russia, was put to vote just two days after the start of Parliaments spring session.
The bill was proposed by MP Petras Gražulis in reaction to the upcoming Baltic Pride 2013 March for Equality. MP has stated that the rationale for the amendment arose from the “current weaknesses of Lithuanian legal system, when promotion of the harmonious, traditional family values is often estimated as unfounded and illegal discrimination against sexual minorities for their sexual orientation”. According to the proponent of the amendment, “the faulty practice appears when the fight against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is being used as a shield. As a consequence, traditional family values are being discriminated, which are appreciated by the people who value heterosexual sexual relations”.
As stated by Amnesty International, this law would restrict the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly enshrined in Articles 9 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). The law would be discriminatory against LGBTI individuals, therefore in breach of Lithuania’s obligation to prohibit discrimination as enshrined in Article 2 of ICCPR, Article 14 of ECHR and Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, infringe the right to freedom to impart and receive information on LGBTI rights and other issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.