Lithuanian parliamentarians have a complete disregard for human rights and democracy, the Tolerant Youth Association (TJA) have charged in the wake of Friday’s 31-7 vote in the Seimas (Parliament) in favour of a Bill to make “the promotion of homosexuality” an offence punishable by fine of 2,000 to 10,000 litas (£500 to £2,500).
“Once again, the Lithuanian parliamentarians are demonstrating their complete disregard for human rights and the values of democracy,” Art?ras Rudomanskis, chairman of a Lithuanian NGO, the Tolerant Youth Association, told UK Gay News last night.
“It’s yet another sign of the new round of homophobic legislation that might be coming,” he added.
The proposal to the Seimas came from Petras Gražulis, a member of the Order and Justice party.
“The essence of my proposal is to ban public promotion of homosexual relations,” he told members of the Seimas, adding that he thought it would solve many problems.
“There would be no more permits for various gay parades, no tensions for the society and we, members of Seimas, wouldn’t need to climb over fences fighting against social perversions,” he said.
The ‘climbing over fences’ reference relates to the now infamous incident during Baltic Pride earlier this year when Mr Grazulis and another MP, Kazimieras Uoka, tried to break through the police fences, Tolerant Youth Association suggested.
Both MPs were set to be prosecuted, but the Seimas voted against stripping them of their legal immunity.
This is not the first case of legislation tampering with the rights of gay people. In June, the Seimas passed a notorious Law of the Protection of Minors Against Negative Public Information. Originally, it contained a provision explicitly banning any information on homosexuality – and only after huge international pressure was the law slightly modified.
Before the final vote in the Seimas, the new bill, which amends the Code of Administrative Violations, introduced by Mr Grazulis will be debated in the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Human Rights.
Supporting the vote last Friday were Labour, Order and Justice Christian Party and some members of the Homeland Union and Social Democrats.
The Liberals voted uniformly against, while most members of the ruling Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political party were among the 21 abstentions.
The next Seimas vote on the proposed legislation is due on December 16.