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EU Condemns Lithuania for “Child-Friendly” Gay Information Ban

EU Condemns Lithuania for “Child-Friendly” Gay Information Ban

Yesterday the EU Parliament categorically opposed Lithuania’s new censorship law that bans “the propaganda of homosexuality or bisexuality” in schools and any place easily accessed by children such as on the television, radio and the internet. But do we have an obligation to discuss homosexuality with our children to prevent anti-gay bullying and violence?

The Lithuanian Gay Censorship Law

With a firm majority of 349 – 218, the EU voted to adopt a resolution condemning the law, saying that it violates EU and international policy as well as breaching several anti-discrimination texts.

UK Green MEP Jean Lambert said:

“This law contravenes the EU Treaties, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, and should be urgently repealed on these grounds.”

The EU called for an independent body, the Agency for Fundamental Rights, to issue a report on exactly which sections of anti-discrimination policy Lithuania’s blanket ban on the “dissemination of homosexuality” contravenes.

Expected to become active in March 2010, the censorship law could even be used to prohibit Pride celebrations and to make positive discussion of homosexuality in the media a punishable taboo.

The Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information outlines several subjects that are considered morally dangerous including horoscopes, the occult, excessive violence and bad language.

To read our past coverage of this dangerous law, and to learn exactly what will be censored and how, please click here.

Lithuania’s newly elected president Dalia Grybauskaite is firmly against the censorship law, but has very little option but to sign it given that her predecessor issued a veto some months ago, and under the Lithuanian constitution the same law can not be vetoed twice after it has been returned to parliament to be readdressed.

Still, President Grybauskaite has stalled plans to add further amendments to the ban, and has set up a group to ensure that the law is “compatible with basic human rights”.

A further comment made by UK MEP Jean Lambert sparked interest when she said:

“It is particularly alarming that the Lithuanian parliament succeeded in passing homophobic legislation under the pretence of child protection, when it is clearly in the best interests of young people to have as much information as possible on these issues.”

Michael Cashman of the European Parliament’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group echoed that sentiment, saying:

“The ideology behind the text is pure homophobia… It is crucial to allow young people to speak, think and act, in the respect of others who are different. Young people need education not isolation.”

A final hearing on the law is set for later this year.

Censorship in the US on LGBT-Themed Information for Children

This entire case is interesting from a number of perspectives, and one such angle highlights issues closer to home.

In American politics many anti-gay organizations argue that it is not in our childrens’ best interests for schools to discuss homosexuality, and liken it to indoctrination. They stand by this opinion even when discussing anti-gay bullying, as was demonstrated in the recent media debate over the Safe Schools Improvement Act.

The Act, H.R. 2262 as it is formally known, sits in Congress at the moment but has been widely denounced by Religious Conservatives as a means of “pushing a homosexual agenda” in our schools.

Rather, what the Safe Schools Improvement Act aims to do is compel schools to act on homophobia in the classroom and to draw up policies to deal with anti-gay bullying and the issues faced by LGBT students, rather than just ignoring them. Currently, schools lack a federally approved framework to do so.

If you would like to learn more about the Safe Schools Improvement Act, click here.

If you would like to support the Safe Schools Improvement Act, please sign this Care2 petition.

Lastly, with reference to the issues raised above, do you think that homosexuality should be discussed in schools? Have your say below.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to RockCohen.

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11 comments

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8:24PM PDT on Sep 29, 2009

funny how everyone thinks it's ok to go against education about gays/lesbians,and transgendered,but no one warns kids bout religion,and the dangers and pitfalls of being around and involved in it!!what with it's pedophile leaders that are "looking after" our young , and guiding them down,mmm,which pathway?? i suppose we should stay away from an obviously backward country and not try to help them progress,of course they prolly believe it's ok to abuse women as well ,and i'm sure there will be a law to help that along soon! rights and princples?? how about control and oppression?!! sad ,

12:57PM PDT on Sep 29, 2009

So Marena Chen, you don't think people should protest human rights abuses in other people's countries? I guess you also oppose interfering where women are oppressed, raped and abused, children are forced to work at very young ages in dangerous work, where ethnic & racial minorites are persecuted and discriminated against? How about when a minority group is systematically murdered, like in Rwanda - you must have been thrilled by the lack of any involvement by any outside power.

Somehow I think it is only about homosexual people that you mind interfering with laws that persecute and discriminate against them, right? Then, when "they" come for you in your own country how will you feel about the silence when no other country wants to step in and "interfere" to save you?

The Silence and non-interference of so-called "good" people in Nazi Germany when they saw what was happening to the Jews, homosexuals, mentally and physically handicapped, gypsies and etc. allowed that horror to take place and millions die terrible deaths. The outside countries tried to not interfere as well as the "good" people inside Germany for quite a long time until they were unable to avoid their own involvement. What a difference it would have made if the UK and the US, to name 2 of the big appeasement ones, had "interfered" earlier! But, then again, you probably wouldn't agree, right?

3:49AM PDT on Sep 24, 2009

What right do you people have, to tell a sovereign country what their laws should be? Mind your own business.

11:59AM PDT on Sep 23, 2009

The passage of this law in Lithuania is a step backwards. Perhaps efforts to repeal it will succeed; let us hope so. This situation is yet another reminder that a large segment of society, both in the U.S. and abroad, still regards gay men and women as second-class citizens - or worse. That is the salient point of my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a gay man, and chronicles his internal and external struggles as he battles for acceptance (of himself and by others). More information is available at www.eloquentbooks.com/BrokenSaint.html.

Mark Zamen, author

11:38AM PDT on Sep 23, 2009

The passage of this law in Lithuania is a step backwards. Perhaps efforts to repeal it will be successful; let us hope so. This situation serves as yet another reminder that a large segment of society, both in the U.S. and abroad, still regards gay men and women as second-class citizens - or worse. That is the salient point of my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a gay man, and chronicles his internal and external struggles as he battles for acceptance (of himself and by others). More information is available at www.eloquentbooks.com/BrokenSaint.html.

Mark Zamen, author

10:07PM PDT on Sep 22, 2009

In this internet age it is hard to keep anything a secret. Kids need to be educated about the positives (love, charity, nature, creation, etc) as well as the negatives in life (war, divorce, drugs, materialism, debt, evolution etc) but at an age where they are mature enough to handle it.

6:36PM PDT on Sep 21, 2009

Noted , thanks !!

3:39PM PDT on Sep 21, 2009

As an out bi woman I'm SO thrilled to be hated officially in yet another country!! NOT. What a disgrace!! Lithuania's parliament wants all the economic "perks" of being in the modern EU - while maintaining Dark Age/Inquisitional laws - NO WAY.
Sanctions, say I.

2:25PM PDT on Sep 21, 2009

Let me first say I'm in total support of LGBT rights, but that isn't the only basis for talking about it in a neutral way. We have a responsibility to educate our youth about the world around them. If you leave out discussions of homosexuality, even in a neutral sense (not promoting or condemning), you are leaving our young people uneducated and unprepared for the world around them. Even if you are opposed to LGBTs (which I personally think is not what Jesus would do, but to each his own) there is no reason not to mention it, as it exists in the world and kids are bound to run into it eventually. We as a country are opposed to drugs, yet we tell our kids all about it in health class. We as a nation are opposed to pedophilia, but we are responsible to educate our youth about it so they can protect themselves. Even if you are totally opposed to any type of gay rights you should still want your kids to know that gay people exist so they can avoid them. (Little bit of snark there.) So logically, whether you are coming from a positive, negative, or neutral feeling towards LGBTs, there's still no good reason not to mention it, and every reason to include it in education, especially as it concerns bullying, which should be discouraged in all forms, for whatever reason. Even if you think gays are going to hell or whatever, your kid still needs to know that if you beat up a gay person you are going to get in trouble.

1:00PM PDT on Sep 21, 2009

Maybe they want to protect the children from being unnecessarily clouded by LGBT issues since the majority of any population anywhere is straight or heterosexual, period. What's wrong with that?
You might not like it either but the American Psychological Association had a position that homosexuality & such was abnormal & some sort of psychological condition as it was devoid of the normal sex role, sex identity & sex orientation. The only reason why it didn't list it as such in the Diagnostical & Statistical Manual is that the homosexual lobbying groups put so much pressure on the APA that it gave up on the issue.
We shouldn't be supporting this therefore.
But, that doesn't mean we can't still be civil with them on this issue & punish those who aren't.

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