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Politicians in Lithuania vote to ‘improve’ anti-gay bill

Politicians in Lithuania vote to ‘improve’ anti-gay bill

Lithuania’s parliament has voted to ‘improve’ an anti-gay bill, which could see LGBT events fined for ‘immorality’.

The decision to amend the proposal was passed by a small majority yesterday (5 June) and its author Petras Gražulis must now submit a new and ‘improved’ resolution.

The controversial bill currently states that ‘the public denigration of constitutional moral values and the principles of family stipulated in the constitution and the organization of events contradicting social morality’ should be subject to a penalty between 1,000 to 3,000 litas ($380 to 1,149, €290 to 870).

And if the proposed offences are committed repeatedly, the fine will be 3,000 to 6,000 litas ($1,149 to 4,450, €870 to 1,740).

It is not the first time Gražulis has tried to push through anti-gay laws in the country, previously co-authoring the controversial bill to make ‘the promotion of homosexuality’ an offence in November 2010 and ‘Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information’ bill a year earlier.

The news follows a resolution passed by the European Parliament, which ‘strongly condemns any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity’.

Vladimir Simonko, chair of the national LGBT advocacy association LGL, said: ‘This is one more warning act of institutionalized homophobia which prevails among Lithuanian lawmakers.

‘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.’

Lithuania’s capital Vilnius will host the annual Baltic Pride next year and this year’s event in Riga, Latvia, saw hundreds of activists march through the city center on Saturday (2 June).

Previous pride events have been banned or marred by violence.

Like Lithuania, Russia, Moldova, Hungary and Latvia have discussed adopting national and regional laws to forbid publicly expressing support for LGBT people’s human rights.