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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Green MEPs welcome EU plea to Lithuania to reject homophobic laws

Green MEPs Jean Lambert and Keith Taylor have today supported the European Parliament’s adoption of a resolution urging the Lithuanian parliament to reject draft homophobic legislation.

The proposed legislation would amend Lithuania’s Code of Administrative Offences to punish the “public promotion of homosexual relations” with a fine of between €580-2,900. The resolution also calls on Lithuania’s supreme legislative body, the Seimas, to reinstate sexual orientation in the list of equalities which should be protected in the Law on Education.

Jean, who sits on the European Parliament’s Intergroup for LGBT rights, said: “The European Parliament has today sent a clear message to the Lithuanian parliament that homophobia has no place in the European Union – not in its society and certainly not enshrined in any of its legislation.

“Unfortunately this is not the first time we have been forced to issue such calls. In 2009, the Lithuanian government passed a law that made discussion of homosexuality illegal in classroom [1]. This new draft legislation will serve to make homophobia even more socially acceptable by extending this ludicrous ban to the undefined ‘public’ sphere.

“If Lithuania wishes to remain a part of the European Union then its basic laws must respect our common core values and agreed basic, fundamental, human rights, namely the freedom of expression and equality of treatment.”

Keith, who also sits on the Intergroup for LGBT rights, said: “I join my fellow MEPs in calling on the Lithuanian parliament to reconsider introducing this hateful legislation.

“This law would criminalise events such as gay pride marches and allow the government to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. It would be a clear contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights which are designed to protect the rights of all of Europe’s citizens.

“If Lithuania decides to pass this legislation we have asked the European Commission to immediately start infringement proceedings”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

[1] On 16 June, 2009, the Lithuania parliament adopted an amended Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. According to the law, “propaganda of homosexuality and bisexuality” has a damaging effect on minors and therefore information on homosexuality and bisexuality should be banned from schools and any other places where it can be accessed by young people.