Lithuania’s EU Commissioner denies she is a lesbian
A leading Euro politician has responded to speculation about her personal life.
Dalia Grybauskaite is the EU Commissioner for Financial Planning and Budgets.
Yesterday she confirmed that she will be a candidate for President of her homeland, Lithuania, in May’s elections.
She was asked as part of an online Q&A with a Lithuanian website about press reports she has a relationship with another women several years ago.
She responded: “If you are asking whether I am a lesbian, then no, I am not.”
Lithuania is one of the most homophobic countries in the EU.
In April 2008 the Council of Europe formally expressed concern over the situation in the country for the first time since it broke from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Twice in 2007 gay activists were banned from displaying the rainbow flag, an international symbol of gay rights.
The Mayor of Vilnius refused to give permission for an anti-discrimination truck tour to visit the city.
The truck was part of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All campaign, but Mayor Imbrasas claimed it could cause a security risk and riots.
A large majority of the Lithuanian population are Roman Catholics, and the church is openly hostile the rights of sexual minorities.
A law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment was passed in 2004, as an obligation for acceptance into the European Union.
This spring the country’s Parliament will consider new laws targeting “agitation for homosexual relations” to children.
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The proposal takes the form of an amendment to the existing Law on the Protection of Minors against Detrimental Effect of Public Information.
Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas, speaking in Parliament in October, said:
“Lithuania is one of the most homophobic countries in the EU. This has to be viewed as a fact.
“The situation cannot be changed by any one party or minister.”
Mr Vaitiekunas added that it would take a generational change before attitudes were different.
Gay people are barred from holding Pride marches by the authorities in the capital Vilnius.