Lawmakers in Lithuania’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted last week to make even more stringent censorship legislation, saying that they should be able to fine people for the “propagation of homosexual relations” in public. This has earned condmentation from EU groups who say this is just another step in furthering a ultra conservative, anti-LGBT agenda.
From UK Gay News:
“This is a one more warning act of institutionalised homophobia which prevails among Lithuanian lawmakers,” commented Valdimir Simonko, chair of the national LGBT advocacy association Lithuanian Gay League (LGL).
“Such kind of legislative proposals are totally unacceptable in the context of the legally binding Charter of Fundamental Rights which clearly prohibits any discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.
“We urge European Commission as the guardian of the Lisbon Treaty to intervene immediately,” he pleaded.
Lawmakers have attempted to raise support among orthodox religious groups, asking that they publicly encourage parliamentarians to approve the changes.
In a letter to church leaders legislators said that these laws are necessary in combating “forms of sinful lifestyles” present in society, adding: “the ideology of homosexuality is one such form and is unacceptable to believers, contradicts the concept of the family, the marriage of man and woman, the natural law established by the Creator, the Constitution which considers family the foundation of the Lithuanian state, and the catechism of the Catholic Church which emphasizes that homosexual relations contradict the natural law and close the sexual act to the gift of life. In addition, we can state that this position of the Church also arises from the notion of homosexuality as a grave perversion in the Bible.”
The letter also says that freedom for citizens should not be misinterpreted as allowing for the degradation of family, hinting that freedom must be curtailed when citizens risk going astray from the ideal of family life.
Lithuania has already raised the ire of the international community for proposing a complete ban on gender reassignment surgery for trans people so as to negate a European Court of Human Rights ruling.
Its censorship law, that this change would aim to add to, has also been widely criticized for its overreaching nature and the way in which it not only bans the ill-defined term propaganda but is also being used to stifle free speech.
This move will likely add to the protestations that Lithuania should have its power as a member state of the EU curtailed until such a time when it is willing to work within the limits and responsibilities of international law.