The Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference (LBC) has urged their government not to sign a Council of Europe (COE) convention tackling domestic violence, as they claim it will lead to homosexuality and “transsexualism” being promoted in schools.

Catholic World News reports that the group of Lithuanian bishops issued a statement on 9 May regarding the COE’s ‘convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence’. The statement urged the Lithuanian government not to ratify the convention, which contains articles protecting LGBT people as well as women.

The LBC said that, while they lauded the goal of preventing violence against women, they opposed several articles within the convention relating to sexuality and gender roles.

Article 4 was picked out as controversial, as it requires signatories to recognise sexuality and gender orientation as categories that should be protected from discrimination – something Lithuania’s anti-discrimination laws currently do not uphold.

“Of particular concern” to the LBC was Article 14, which mandates the teaching of “non-stereotyped gender roles … in formal curricula and at all levels of education”.

The LBC warned that this created an “unfair obligation” on schools to promote homosexuality and “transsexualism” to young people.

They also voiced concern about Article 12, which says states should “promote changes in the social and cultural patterns of behavior of women and men with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men”. The bishops claimed that this was a threat to religious traditions.

Earlier this year Dalia Grybauskaite, the President of Lithuania, said the discussions on the introduction of same-sex civil partnerships in the country were premature.

In 2012 the EU condemned a lack of clarity in Lithuania’s laws regarding the legality of promoting the acceptance of homosexuality.