Lithuanian President on LGBT pride in Vilnius: I don't march in any rallies

11/07/2013
Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from 15 min: http://www.15min.lt/en/article/politics/lithuanian-president-on-lgbt-pride-in-vilnius-i-don-t-march-in-any-rallies-526-352418

Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė refuses to comment on the LGBT pride march in Vilnius until a court passes a verdict, saying she has not or ever will march in any rallies.

"I personally do not participate in any rallies, I haven't done so until now and have no intentions of participating in any," Grybauskaitė told a news conference intended to summarize the fourth year of her five-year term at the President's Office.

She received a call to participate in the rally during her visit at the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg on July 3.

Dutch MEP Sophia in 't Veld announced her plans to come to Vilnius for the parade, expressing hope to see the Lithuanian leader there, as well.

"I would very much encourage the Lithuanian presidency to start leading by example by lifting the ban on the pride march in the center of Vilnius. (...) I hope to see you in Vilnius on the 27th of July and celebrate the diversity of Europe," in 't Veld told Grybauskaitė.

During her comment at the press conference on Wednesday, the Lithuanian president noted that the Constitution guaranteed equal rights of assembly for all citizens of Lithuania but did not comment on the venue of the event. The Vilnius municipality has refused to issue a permit for the LGBT event along the city's central Gedimino Avenue.

"When it comes to the venue of certain events – it is the prerogative of the municipality. It should be decided by those who approached the municipality and the municipality itself. The court, the second court have already ordered that the municipality should settle the issue. If an appeal is again filed (against the ruling) to a higher instance, it will decide then. Therefore, I do not want to comment here, as the process is not over yet," she told journalists.

Asked about her plans to greet participants of the LGBT pride parade, Grybauskaitė said she never greeted any rally in the past.


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