LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

European Parliament urges Lithuania to reject proposed homophobic law

Today, the European Parliament adopted a resolution urging Lithuanian Parliament to reject proposed amendments to the country’s Code of Administrative Offences introducing an offence of ‘promotion of homosexual relations’ punishable with a fine of €580 to €2,900.

During the debates at the European Parliament, both the members of the European Parliament and Viviane Reding, the Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, expressed concerns with the proposed legislation and stated that the adoption of such a law would contradict one of the basic fundamental principles of the European Union – freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Already for the last couple of years, Lithuania was in a subject of intense scrutiny by the European institutions and international human rights organisations. Indeed, the currently proposed legislation is not the first attempt to institutionalise discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and limit freedom of expression and information on subjects related to homo- and bisexuality.

Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“We welcome today’s resolution by the European Parliament. This is already the second resolution of the European Parliament since 2009 condemning discriminatory legislative initiatives in Lithuania. It clearly demonstrates and confirms a very basic principle of the European Union that the discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation is unacceptable.

We hope that the re-occurring initiatives to adopt discriminatory laws on the ground of sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender identity in various EU member states will result in the consistent and comprehensive EU approach tackling these forms of discrimination. We want to see the EU institutions act unanimously, decisively and firmly against any attempts by EU member states which compromise or violates the very principles of the European Union. Like on other grounds, the member states should be sent a strong signal that homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression do not have place in the EU and the institutions will not hesitate to act when such discriminatory initiatives occur .”