Lithuania's incoming president on
Thursday criticized a bill approved by lawmakers that bans gay speech
in schools, the AP reported.
Dalia Grybauskaite spoke out against
the bill: “I'm very much upset that such kind of laws in Lithuania
are possible,” she told reporters at a news conference in
Stockholm, where she appeared with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik
The bill prohibits schools from
discussing being gay and bans any reference to homosexuality where it
might be viewed by children.
“The amendment denies the right to
freedom of expression and deprives students access to the support and
protection they may need,” said Nicola Duckworth of the human
rights groups Amnesty International.
Lawmakers first approved the law in
June but it was vetoed by Grybauskaite's predecessor, President
Valdas Adamkus. On Tuesday, lawmakers managed to overturn the
Adamkus' veto, meaning the new president must sign it into law.
“But I have a tool,” she said.
“This tool is the possibility to come with a proposal for [an]
amendment of the law.”
Lithuania similarly bans issues such as
the portrayal of physical or psychological violence, the display of a
dead or cruelly mutilated body of a person, and information that
arouses fear or horror, or encourages self-mutilation or suicide,
Amnesty International said.
The bill bans information that
“agitates for homosexual, bisexual relations or polygamy,”
calling such information detrimental to youth. Critics said the
bill's broad language effectively bans any discussion of
homosexuality except in a negative context, effectively legislating
"This legislation is homophobic
discrimination,” British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell told
“As such, it clearly violates the European Convention on Human
Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. It also violates the
equality and anti-discrimination clauses of the UN Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of
"Lithuania has signed up to these
international humanitarian declarations but it is now defying them.
It wants the rights of EU and UN membership, but not the
responsibilities. Lithuania has no right to belong to European
institutions if it violates their human rights principles," he