Lithuanian lawmakers have postponed a vote on a new anti-LGBT law that emulates Russia’s ban on ‘gay propaganda’.
The state’s Parliament had been due to vote on proposals that would introduce fines for any public display that “defies traditional family values”.
Reaching further than simply banning public displays of affection among gay people, the law could also ban any LGBT rights march or protest, and outlaw any form of visibility for LGBT people.
Lawmakers were set for a showdown on the amendment to the Code of Administrative Violations this week, but the item was bumped from the Parliament’s agenda – though it could return at a later date,
Shawn Gaylord of US-based lobbying group Human Right First said: “While the tabling of this amendment is a welcomed respite for LGBT Lithuanians, the proposed amendment will remain a threat to the protection of the human rights of Lithuania’s LGBT community until it is officially defeated.
“The introduction of this amendment and other similar bills throughout Eastern Europe is an alarming trend that contributes to increased violence and discrimination. We urge the Obama Administration to publicly condemn this legislation and to press the Lithuanian government to ensure that the amendment is not reintroduced.”
Tomas V. Raskevičius, Policy Coordinator of the Lithuanian Gay League, said: “Despite the fact that the bill was removed from the Parliament’s agenda, it can be submitted for the final voting at any time.
“This continuous threat serves a persistent reminder that LGBT human rights remain a tool for political manipulation and blackmail.
“As human rights defenders, sometimes we feel hopeless that even the basic rights for LGBT people are being questioned.”
The next Baltic Pride in the country has adopted the slogan ‘We are people, not propaganda’ – and will take place in June 2016.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė recently condemned a singer who compared gay people to paedophiles, claiming his comments exemplify issues with homophobia in Lithuania.
She said: “I believe the incident benefits the state in a way that, in this country, we are becoming more and more open in our discussions about how insular we are, our intolerance of people who are different, as well as homophobia.
“I believe discussions are a healthy thing, we need more of them, as the sooner Lithuania becomes more open and more tolerant, the better it will be for the country.”