Advocates Blast Lithuania’s Anti-Gay Law

Gay and human rights groups are calling on Lithuania to reconsider a bill curtailing the dissemination of information about homosexuality over concerns it institutionalizes homophobia and curtails free speech.

“Far from protecting children, the law deprives young people of their right to freedom of expression and access to information, and risks isolating children who are already amongst the most at-risk of violence at school or within the family,” John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s researcher on Discrimination in Europe said in a press release.

The controversial legislation, named the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information, seeks to protect children from potentially harmful data, such as instructions on making explosives, images of death or torture, poor eating habits as well as any information that “agitates for homosexual, bisexual and polygamous relations.”

Former Lithuanian President Valdus Adamkus vetoed the law after its initial passage by the Parliament in June, but parliamentarians voted to override his veto Tuesday. Lithuania’s new President Dalia Grybauskaite is legally bound to sign the law within three days, and cannot reissue a presidential veto.

European Parliament members and Lithuanian rights groups are investigating whether any legal challenges can be brought forward on the grounds that the law violates the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.