European Parliament calls on Lithuania to shelve anti-gay law

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The European Parliament today urged Lithuania to reject draft legislation which would result in fines for “public promotion of homosexual relations”.

A report by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency suggests that law could potentially criminalise almost all public expressions or portayals of homosexuality.

The draft law would alter the Code of Administrative Offences in order to punish those found to be “promoting” homosexuality with a fine of between €580 and €2900.

The amendments have not yet been scrutinised by the Lithuanian parliament.

In 2006, Lithuania amended the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. According to the current legislation, “propaganda of homosexuality and bisexuality” has a damaging effect on minors.

Information on homosexuality and bisexuality should, it states, be banned from schools and any other places where it can be accessed by young people.

Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, 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.

“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.”

The European Parliament has said the draft law is also contrary to the Lithuanian Constitution.

Lithuania’s President, Dalia Grybauskaitė, has denounced it as harmful for citizens and for the image of the country.