VILNIUS — The Lithuanian parliament voted Tuesday to disregard a European Parliament resolution condemning the country’s controversial “minor protection” law as discriminatory against homosexuals.
The European Parliament voted on a resolution in September condemning the Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information, which lumps the discussing the subject of homosexuality with the mutilation of bodies and viewing corpses. The vaguely-written law criminalizes to talk about homosexuality in a positive way not only in schools or but in any public arena in which minors could consume the information. The European Parliament resolution demanded that the law be revised to prevent legalizing discrimination against homosexuals.
The non-binding resolution rebuking Europe passed in the Seimas on Tuesday, stating that the EU had no business interfering with Lithuanian affairs.
The bill, authored by Homeland Union-Christian Democrat Mantas Adomėnas was voted for by 52 members of Seimas with nine against and six abstaining. The Adomėnas resolution says not defying the European Parliament on this issue “may serve as a dangerous precedent” to Lithuanian sovereignty. Mečislovas Zasčiurinskas, a Seimas member from the Labor Party, said Lithuania likened Brussels to Moscow during the Soviet era.
Critics of the law are not confined to Brussels, though. The bill was vetoed by then-President Valdas Adamkus shortly before his term ended but parliament reauthorized it, leaving newly-elected President Dalia Grybauskaitė with no power of veto, but she later set up a task force to change the legislation. The prime minister’s office says it is willing to consider the panel’s recommendation.
Deputy Speaker of the Seimas Česlovas Vytautas Stankevičius, also a member of the Homeland Union-Christian Democrat Party, said that before the law takes effect next year Lithuania will amend the bill itself without the outside interference of Europe. The parliament will discuss a set of amendments that could clear the law of provisions that ban minors accessing information that “propagates homosexual relations.”
This is not the first time the Lithuania has rebutted EU attempts to promote tolerance of homosexuals within its borders. In 2007 the Vilnius city council unanimously barred an EU-sponsored tolerance of minorities rally from taking place, citing fears that anti-gay protesters may become violent. Many homosexuals in Lithuania choose not to publicly disclose their sexuality, as recent research shows just 7 percent of Lithuanians know of a gay person in their circle of acquaintances or their family.