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Lithuania politician seeks to legalize a ban on ‘gay propaganda’

Lithuania politician seeks to legalize a ban on ‘gay propaganda’

Lithuanian MP, Petras Gražulis, part of the governing coalition, will seek to introduce a bill prohibiting ‘homosexual propaganda’ in Lithuania anew.

According to the MP, the ban is a response to the planned Pride (known as the March for Equality) in Vilnius – the country’s capital, organized by the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL), and set to take place in July, 2013.

Gražulis is planning to propose a new bill this spring, when the Lithuanian parliament will start its new sessions.

Gražulis previously unsuccessfully sought to prohibit ‘homosexual propaganda’ through amending the country’s code of administrative violation, which would punish ‘offenders’ with a fine ranging from 580 to 2900 euros (US$ 770 – 3,853).

However, these amendments were rejected after an active lobbying by human rights defenders.

Gražulis also sought to initiate a national referendum in order to include the prohibition of ‘homosexual propaganda’ in Lithuania’s constitution.

However, this attempt also failed.

Gražulis announced he is to try to (re)introduce a ban on ‘homosexual propaganda’ in order to prevent a planned pride event from taking place in Vilnius, this summer.

Vilnius municipality has approved the March for Equality in either a city square or to UpÄ—s Street.

During the Baltic Pride March in 2010, several MPs, including Gražulis, sought to disturb public order and were forced to leave the site by the police officers.

Petras Gražulis promises to do everything that the Pride does not take place: ‘I will apply to the Municipality so that the permission is not granted; if it is granted, I will appeal before the court in order to annul it.’

Meanwhile, Anne Hall, the US Charge d’ Affaires to Lithuanian emphasised that protection of Lithuania’s LGBT community’s human rights is a priority of the US, and that the US is fully behind the Lithuanian LGBT community.

In an interview with the Lithuania Tribune, Hall said that the US embassy to Lithuanian looks forward to the planned pride march planned for this summer.

Hall also stated that the US will be looking closely at developments in Lithuania regarding LGBT rights.

Although homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993, Lithuania has very limited rights for gays and lesbians.

Protection against discrimination was legislated for as part of the criteria for European Union accession.

Several studies demonstrate that negative attitudes against LGBT people remain firmly entrenched in Lithuania.