A bill that would have introduced Russia-style gay propaganda laws to Lithuania has failed to get the votes today (13 March).
Lawmakers made their decision on a bill that would have outlawed gay pride parades, pubic speeches in support of LGBTI rights, gay rights campaign materials and audio-visual materials in support of the rights of LGBTI people.
Fines for the ‘contempt of moral values’ would have gone up to 6000 litas ($2500, €1800) for ‘repeat offenses’.
While a majority of members of parliament voted to bring the proposal to a vote – 39 in favor, 34 opposed, and 20 abstentions – this was not enough.
Order and Justice Party MP Petras Gražulis, who introduced the bill, accused conservative politicians who did not back the bill of ‘not only changing their political orientation, but their sexual orientation as well.’
Conservative MP Vida Mary Čigriejienė, who opposed the bill, said in response:
‘Why are you talking about family values? As I recall, Mr Gražulis, you just broke up with your wife.’
And Rimantas Jonas Dagys, another Conservative MP who opposed the bill, said he agreed with the ‘idea’ but said the current wording could cause ‘controversy’.
When Gražulis introduced the bill, he said it was necessary because of ‘current weaknesses of [the] Lithuanian legal system, when promotion of the harmonious, traditional family values is often estimated as unfounded and illegal discrimination against sexual minorities for their sexual orientation.’
The Order and Justice Party are part of a governing coalition headed by the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania, led by Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius.
Gražulis has a history of making extreme claims about LGBTI people – equating them to pedophiles and people who have sex with animals and has called for them to be thrown out of Lithuania in the past.
The bill is just one of four being considered by Lithuanian lawmakers this spring.
The second bill by Gražulis and a colleague would force the organizers of LGBTI pride events to pay for all expenses related to ensuring safety and public order in the course of an event.
Another seeks to ban adoption by same-sex couples, while the last would legalize the vilification of LGBTI people.
The Lithuanian Government has said it opposes the last bill.