Please find below a letter ALDE (The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) group of the European Parliament wrote to Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, regarding a proposal to criminalise ‘propaganda of homosexual relationships in public’ in Lithuania.
To the attention of Mme Viviane REDING
Vice-President of the Commission
Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
we know you are due to visit Lithuania this week and we would like to raise with you the request to enquiry with the Lithuanian authorities – and express EU firm opposition, shall media releases be confirmed – on the draft amendments violating freedom of expression and constituting a discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The Lithuanian Parliament voted on Friday 12 November 2010 (with 31 votes in favour, 7 against, with the remaining lawmakers in the 141-seat parliament abstaining or not voting) to proceed with legislation amending the Administrative Code to establish a new offence punishable by a fine (from 2,000 to 10,000 Litas; 580-2,900 Euros) for the "public promotion of homosexual relations".
Such law might be applied to impede equality and gay pride marches and freedom of expression, such as campaigning for LGBT rights (as illustrated by its initiator, MP Grazulis, who during the 2010 Baltic Pride tried to break through the police fences, was set to be prosecuted for this, but the Seimas voted against stripping his immunity). The draft law is intended to implement the "Law of the Protection of Minors Against Detrimental Public Information" adopted last summer, and will undergo second reading on December 16.
As you will recall the European Parliament – as well as the Commission – harshly criticised the Law. The Lithuanian authorities decided to modify it in a way to neutralise it in practice, but here we are now with fines to make it effective.
We are sure that you will agree with us that this amendment is not compatible with European values as enshrined in the ECHR and the Charter of Fundamental Rights and that Lithuanian authorities should not adopt it. We consequently ask you to follow this up with the Lithuanian authorities and inform the EP as soon as possible on the situation in Lithuania in relation to this law.
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