Lithuanian parliament revises ‘gay ban’ law

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Lithuania has revised a controversial law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality.

According to AFP, the country’s parliament voted 58-4, with 25 abstentions, to amend the law.

It prohibited the “public dissemination” of any materials which could be seen to promote homosexuality.

The country has already banned any mention of homosexuality or bisexuality in schools or in media accessible by young people.

The law was compared to Section 28, the law which prohibited discussion of homosexuality in UK schools.

According to Amnesty, punishable offences would include campaigning on human rights issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, providing sexual health information to lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans people or the organisation of gay film festivals and Pride events.

Instead, lawmakers yesterday approved changes which would ban the “encouraging the sexual abuse of minors, sexual relations between minors and other sexual relations”.

A spokesman for President Dalia Grybauskaite, who had called for the amendment, told AFP: “The homophobic clauses have been removed. The law is in line with European standards.”

The legislation also prohibited the mention of bisexuality, polygamy, images of straight sex, death and severe injury, the paranormal, foul language and bad eating habits. It did not specify punishments for breaking the law.

However, gay rights activists in Lithuania have said that events such as Pride marches could still be banned under the revised law, which also bars the promotion of “any concept of the family other than that set down in the constitution”.

Vladimir Simonko, head of the Lithuanian Gay League, said the law had been written by “a bunch of Bible-bashers”, adding: “From now on, any of our public events could fall under that clause and be banned.”