Lithuania Proposes Ban on Gender Reassignment in Defiance of EU Court
Lithuanian lawmakers recently introduced a draft proposal that would amend the country’s Civil Code to prohibit gender reassignment surgery, in defiance of a 2007 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling.
In the decision, the Court affirmed the rights of a transexual plaintiff to say that, under current laws, citizens must have access to gender reassignment surgery, finding that the State had violated the claimant’s liberty. The court said that lawmakers should pass a law regulating the procedure and conditions for gender reassignment. No law has been passed.
Instead, lawmakers led by the country’s chairman of the Committee on Health Affairs, seem keen to prevent future involvement from the ECHR by amending the Civil Code to explicitly prohibit gender reassignment. This, they believe, will shield them from further intervention.
From UK Gay News:
At present, the Civil Code provides that an unmarried adult is entitled to undergo gender reassignment surgery if it is possible medically, while the conditions and procedure of gender reassignment are set by legislation. However, no such legislation has been passed.
The initiators of the draft amendment propose that the aforementioned provisions be deleted and replaced by the provision that gender reassignment surgery is prohibited in Lithuania and that civil registry entries concerning gender reassignment surgeries performed abroad be amended by court decision only.
Vladimir Simonko, chair of the national LGBT advocacy organisation Lithuanian Gay League, today expressed strong concerns about the legislative initiative which if adopted would clearly contravene the Lithuania’s obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights.
“Trans people are already suffering from discrimination because [the] national equal treatment law does not explicitly include gender reassignment,” he told UK Gay News.
As pointed out above, how much this will in fact guard against Court involvement remains to be seen.
Recently, the European Parliament adopted two resolutions on Turkey and Montenegro’s progress towards joining the European Union wherein the Parliament said that it needed to see further progress on issues of non-discrimination, particularly concerning LGBTs, before the nations would be allowed to join. Given that Lithuania is already a memberstate, this little bit of chicanery seems suspect at best.
It is, however, in keeping with the Lithuanian parliament’s anti-LGBT stance.
For instance, in the last year the EU Parliament has condemned Lithuania’s censorship law that bans the so-called “propaganda of homosexuality or bisexuality” in schools and any place easily accessible to children such as on television, radio and the internet, saying that it violates EU and international policy as well as breaching several anti-discrimination texts. Read more on that here.
An LGBT rights group was also recently barred from participating in a discussion on human rights issues held by the Lithuanian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee. Read more about that here.
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