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Lithuania Parliament to consider five anti-LGBT bills

Thursday, September 12, 2013
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VILNIUS, Lithuania — Five anti-LGBT bills are scheduled to be considered by Lithuania’s parliament before the end of the year.

Tomas Berzinskas, a spokesman for Speaker Vydas Gedvilas, said that according to the draft Parliament agenda, lawmakers will consider four anti-gay initiatives and one measure that would ban all transgender therapy and surgery in Lithuania.

Lithuania-flag-091213Berzinskas said that a summary of the transgender assignment measure notes that Lithuanian society views gender reassignment as very controversial.

“Society is not ready to accept gender reassignment practices due to certain psycho-social reasons, and therefore the permission to undergo gender reassignment surgeries will lead to a number of medical and ethical issues,” according to one of the proposed bills.

“It is impossible to reassign gender surgically because it is determined genetically from the very moment of conception,” the bill states.

Among the other four proposals is a ban of same-sex couple adoption, and two measures that would make organizers of public events, such as as pride marches, liable for costly administrative fees aimed at ensuring public safety and order and mandatory fines for the “public denigration of constitutional moral values.”

The last bill seeks to seeks to amend the country’s criminal code that effectively legalizes anti-LGBT hate speech.

“The criticism of sexual behavior or sexual practices, convictions or believes, or persuasion to change this behavior, practices, convictions or believes cannot per se be qualified as harassment, denigration, incitement to hatred, discrimination or incitement to discrimination,” the bill reads.

Previously, in 2009, Lithuania passed a bill banning information on homosexuality in schools or in media accessible by young people. This came following a 2007 amendment to public order and cleanliness laws, allowing police to ban any event where authorities deemed a riot may occur — including at gay pride events.

A group trying to institute a Russian style ban on “homosexual propaganda” led by a Kaunas City Council member Gintautas Labanauskas, was blocked early last month by the Lithuanian Central Electoral Commission barring them from collecting signatures for a referendum.

The plan for the referendum was also opposed by the Legal Department of the Lithuanian Parliament which told the Commission that a ban on discussion of LGBT issues would be discriminatory and run counter to the Lithuanian Constitution and international conventions.

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