Lithuania may ban public promotion of homosexual relations

by Rex Wockner

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Lithuania's parliament, the Seimas, is considering legislation to criminalize "promotion of homosexual relations in public places," says the Lithuanian Gay League.

One bill says that "a person promoting homosexual relations in public places is committing a criminal offense which is punishable with community work or a fine or imprisonment." Another says that "the promotion of homosexual relations or financing of the promotion in public places is to be punished by a fine from 1,000 ($400) to 5,000 litas."

"If these amendments are ultimately adopted, the Lithuanian government will have the authority to prosecute on an extremely wide variety of actions and activities," LGL said. "These actions include, but are not limited to, campaigning on human rights issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, providing sexual health information to LGBT people, the organization of gay film festivals, and organizing and/or attending pride events."

Amnesty International's European program director, Nicola Duckworth, said, "It is hard to believe that a member of the European Union should even be considering the adoption of such legislation."

Last year, the Seimas enacted the "Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information." It bans information that promotes sexual relationships, "denigrates family values" or encourages a nonheterosexual concept of marriage and family in any location where such information could be accessed by a minor.

LGL said the newest move "exemplifies the continuous process of the institutionalization of homophobia in Lithuania."

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