Lithuania to Vote on Russian Style Anti-“Propaganda” Amendment
Washington D.C. – Human Rights First today expressed serious concern over reports that the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) will vote tomorrow to approve an anti-“propaganda” law that violates the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. In an attempt to quickly and quietly push the legislation through, the proposed amendment, which emulates Russia’s discriminatory anti-“propaganda” law, was put to vote just two days after being introduced.
“This amendment targeted at repressing the LGBT community is part of an alarming trend throughout Eastern Europe, where these bills are contributing to a dangerous culture of fear and violence against LGBT people,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “It is crucial that the Obama Administration continue to demonstrate leadership on this issue by publicly condemning this legislation. The administration should also explore new avenues to respond to this developing trend in order to stop the passage of further discriminatory laws and promote the protection of LGBT rights as human rights.”
The amendment to the Code of Administrative Violations No. XIP-4490(3) would introduce fines for any public display that defies traditional family values. The Seimas will vote on the draft proposed by Petras Grazulis, who has claimed that constitutionally established family values are being assaulted under the guise of protecting the rights of sexual minorities. If passed, the law would reportedly levy fines equivalent to between 300 and 900 Euro, and triple that for repeat violations, for organizing pride events, sharing posters, banners, or films, and giving public speeches.
“Any legislation of this kind will further fuel homophobic and transphobic attitudes in the Lithuanian society,” said Vladimir Simonko, Chair of the Lithuanian Gay League. “Lithuanian Gay League is calling for the rejection of this discriminatory legislative proposal in the Lithuanian Parliament. To this end, we are asking for all the possible support from international human rights organizations in approaching national politicians, first and foremost the President Ms. Dalia Grybauskaitė, who has the constitutional right to veto the homophobic amendment if adopted.”
The Lithuanian amendment is just one example of similar legislations being introduced throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia by lawmakers seeking to emulate Russia’s discriminatory anti-“propaganda” laws.