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 law.

“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 statement.

“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 children.

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 legislating homophobia.

“The Lithuanian authorities must not implement the law which discriminates against gay and lesbian people and restricts their freedom of expression,” Dalhuisen added.