Lithuania's controversial law that bans
the “promotion” of being gay takes effect Monday.
In December, lawmakers capitulated to
international pressure and agreed to remove some of the measure's
most odious language. But the changes failed to mollify opponents,
who say the amended law remains anti-gay because it outlaws the
promotion of “any concept of the family other than that set down in
the constitution,” which defines marriage as a heterosexual union.
“From now on, any of our public
events could fall under that clause and be banned,” Vladimir
Simonko, head of the Lithuanian
Gay League, told the AFP.
Human rights group Amnesty
International called on the government to ditch the controversial
“This law will violate the freedom of
expression and will directly discriminate against people on account
of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said John
Dalhuisen, expert on discrimination at Amnesty International, in a
“It will stigmatize gay and lesbian
people and expose advocates for their rights to the risk of
censorship and financial penalties.”
“This law is an anachronism in the
European Union,” he added.
In its original version – approved by
the Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas, in July – the bill would
have barred the “public dissemination” of information favorable
to being gay. Proponents argued that the law was necessary because
positive images of gay people would physically and mentally harm
President Dalia Grybauskaite expressed
opposition to the original bill in July: “I'm very much upset that
such kind of laws in Lithuania are possible,” she told reporters at
a news conference in Stockholm.
The law's broad language banned any
discussion of being gay except in a negative context, effectively
“The Lithuanian authorities must not
implement the law which discriminates against gay and lesbian people
and restricts their freedom of expression,” Dalhuisen added.