Once Again, Choosing Anti-LGBT Bigotry Over Protecting Women

Lithuanian religious leaders have formally opposed a Council of Europe Convention on domestic violence action because the convention includes lesbian, bisexual and trans women.

In a formal statement released on May 9, the Lithuanian Bishop’s Conference (LBC) said it is “concerned” about government plans to sign on to the Convention On Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence because the text contains what the LBC has deemed inappropriate language that categorizes gender as a “social construct” rather than “biological nature.”

The LBC says that, while it praises action on domestic violence, it is concerned in particular about Article 4 of the treaty which states that parties, countries signing on to the convention, are expected to take legislative action to ensure that they protect and promote the right of women to live free of violence, and without discrimination:

on any ground such as sex, gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, state of health, disability, marital status, migrant or refugee status, or other status.

The LBC notes that Lithuania does not cover sexual orientation and gender identity in its nondiscrimination laws. Indeed, Lithuania has made several attempts to all but criminalize LGBT identity by passing a homosexuality “propaganda” ban and moving to outlaw gender change medical interventions.

The LBC contends that Article 4 is vague and that it is not apparent how far those protections should extend.

The LBC also found room to disagree with Article 12, titled General Obligations, which sets out several courses of action participating nations must follow and states:

“Promote changes in the social and cultural patterns of behavior of women and men with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men.”

LBC believes that this paves the way for undermining so-called traditional notions of gender and creating new nondiscrimination provisions that Lithuania does not have.

However, it is Article 14 for which the LBC reserved its most colorful objections. Article 14, titled Education, states:

Parties shall take, where appropriate, the necessary steps to include teaching material on issues such as equality between women and men, non-stereotyped gender roles, mutual respect, non-violent conflict resolution in interpersonal relationships, gender-based violence against women and the right to personal integrity, adapted to the evolving capacity of learners, in formal curricula and at all levels of education.

The LBC says the inclusion of “non-stereotyped gender roles”  is an “unfair obligation” because “among other things, [the provision could] also mean [the promotion of] homosexuality and transgenderism.”

The LBC concludes by saying that it urges against ratifying the Convention because it represents “ideological goals that are contrary to the nation’s identity.”

Up to a quarter of women in any given European or “developed” nation can be expected to have experienced some level of domestic violence and austerity throughout Europe appears to be making that problem worse. That lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex women remain at a heightened risk of suffering violence, domestic assault and gross breaches of human rights in the form of so-called “corrective” rape also remains a great source of concern for many European states.

However, religious conservatives have frequently opposed all attempts at acting to stem this violence because, they say, to do so would be to force them to accept notions of sexuality and gender identity that are against their faith.

Sadly, this echoes many religious conservative voices in the United States who have frequently opposed LGBTI inclusion in domestic violence laws and violence against women legislation, notions that in the past have led to the abandoning of action in South Dekota and several other states.

This kind of prejudice was also apparent earlier this year when it came to Congress dallying over whether to pass the Violence Against Women Act, which every year until now had been stripped of its lesbian, bisexual and transgender women-inclusive language.

Fortunately, however, opposition was not enough to prevent the law, complete with its LBT provisions, from passing this year.

It remains a sad trend, however, that the Religious Right throughout Europe and much of the world is prepared to sacrifice protecting women so that it can further its anti-LGBT agenda.


Image credit: Thinkstock.


Dennis D.
Past Member 4 years ago

Is any one surprised by this. The one thing any one can count on for being consistent in their bigotry. Is the religious right.

John B.
John B4 years ago

Thanks Steve for the very informative article.

Anna Undebeck
Anna Undebeck4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Bartley Deason
Bartley Deason4 years ago

Mark K. wrote:
"Their country, their culture, their laws..... quit trying to impose your beliefs on others. You are the opposite of the religious "zealots" but just as bad."
Mark, can you please define "impose" for me? If I understand what you are saying here, I have to ask you WHO is trying to "impose" their beliefs on others? Impose usually means using some form of force (as in making laws) to create change. I know of NO laws being put forth by the LGBT community to force change on the non-LGBT community. I see only the requests to be allowed to have the same equal rights as the straight people have. BUT, I do see so very much imposition against the LBGTs coming from the radical religious and ignorant right wingers. So, if I do understand your words, who is imposing on who?

Aud Nordby
Aud n4 years ago


Ryan Yehling
Ryan Yehling4 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

janet T.
janet t4 years ago

I am still puzzled by so-called christian people who just have to control people's lives. They usually believe that if they sin and confess they are forgiven. But if someone else sins, then they must get involved and make all sorts of rules and laws. They just can't let those other people keep their so-called sins between them and god.

Patricia H.
Patricia H.4 years ago

I agree with Kevin B.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown4 years ago

Sorry Lithuanian "religious" leaders, domestic violence is always wrong, it makes no difference if it is committed against lesbian, bisexual and trans women or heterosexual women.

You would think that would not have to be explained to so-called "Christian religious leaders."

Pamela W.
Pamela W4 years ago

Paolo C .......... Post 9.44pm PDT on May 17 .........

"Totally agree with Mark K. Every citizen should mind the business of their own country and stop nosing around other country's business."

So you think that if some diabolical treatment is being "dished-out" in another country, we should just sit back and say "I'm alright Jack, not MY problem !" ?????

"The law of biology defines a male and a female genre, why are we trying to deviate from our own biological identity."

Who exactly do you mean by "we" ??? Do you include yourself ???

" There should be laws to protect the rights of all men and women, and help for the LGBT."

And what sort of "help" would that be for the LGBT ? They are men and women - are they different in some way, and don't equally deserve laws to protect them ??