Current Affairs

Lithuanian bus drivers angered by gay ads

Amy Bourke May 15, 2007
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Drivers of trolley buses in Lithuania are protesting against advertisements promoting tolerance towards gay men and women.

Drivers refused to drive the trolley bus bearing the adverts. The ads have now been removed.

Conservative attitudes are common in Lithuania, as homosexuality was illegal in the Soviet Union until 1993. In 2004, the age of consent was equalised to 14 years of age.

Algirdas Krivickas, director of the trolley bus company in the town

of Kaunas, told Reuters yesterday that employees had expressed strong emotions over the adverts which read: “A gay can serve in the police” and “A lesbian can work at school.”

“Some said they feared the trolley bus could be vandalised, some said they do not want friends to laugh at them,” Krivickas said.

Lithuania created a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment in 2004, as an obligation for acceptance into the European Union.

Vladimir Simonko, president of the Lithuanian Gay League, which ordered the adverts, said the aim was to encourage discussion.

He told Reuters: “It is a sad situation. Such attitudes force homosexual people to emigrate from Lithuania.”

Later this year, Lithuania will become home to the European Institute for Gender Equality.

Earlier this year, reported how over half of Lithuanian MPs believe homosexuality to be a perversion.

A poll last December found that only 17% of Lithuanians support gay marriage.

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