Lithuanian Parliamentarians try to overturn permit for international LGBT Pride in Vilnius
Only two weeks after the enactment of a controversial Law on the Protection of Minors in Lithuania, Members of the Parliament seek to ban an international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride event due to take place in Vilnius on the 8th May 2010.
Municipal authorities authorised the three-nation Baltic Pride event last month. But a petition led by Petras Gražulis, member of the Order and Justice party, calls on the national Prosecution Office to reconsider the permit in the light of a new law banning minors from accessing information about “non-traditional” forms of family. Gražulis claims to have gathered over 50 signatures from Members of Parliament.
The Lithuanian judiciary has yet to take account of the new law. Human rights organisations in Lithuania and the European Union have expressed serious concerns regarding the law , which could obstruct the freedom of expression and assembly for groups supporting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Leonidas Donskis MEP, Member of the European Parliament for Lithuania, commented: “Until now, the Order and Justice party was regarded as a marginal and anti-European political force. The petition led by Petras Gražulis says it all about how ‘deeply embedded’ European values of tolerance and respect for diversity are for him and his party. The time has come for more responsible and civilised political groups in Lithuania to react. Do they want to close ranks with Mr. Gražulis and his party? Do they wish to continue the struggle against the values founding the EU? The answer is theirs.”
Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, further added: “I trust in the judiciary to throw out this shameful attack on fundamental rights. These people do not represent the decent citizens of Lithuania.”
Following its September 2009 resolution expressing concern over the law, the European Parliament will keep monitoring the fundamental rights of sexual and gender minorities in Lithuania. The European Commission will also closely scrutinise the implications of the new law.