Lithuanian law on the ‘protection’ of minors enters the statute book

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Lithuanian Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information is entering into force today. The law bars ‘minors’ from receiving information about any type of sexual relationships, and seeks to protect the ‘traditional’ concept of family defined by the Constitution as based on the union between a man and a woman.

Last September the European Parliament officially condemned an earlier draft of the law forbidding the “propaganda of homosexuality and bisexuality” to minors. The proposed law gravely threatened freedom of expression and the right to impart and receive information freely, guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Lithuanian Seimas

The Lithuanian Seimas (Credit: pkmk/flickr)

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, declared: “The latest version of the law is marginally better than earlier drafts. Nevertheless, the European Union will not let a Member State restrict its citizens’ fundamental rights. Lithuanian people, including young people, are the victims of parliamentarians’ outdated fears: what they need is access to information on the society and family of the twenty-first century. What we need to promote is honesty about all forms of loving relationships.”

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, added: “I am happy there is no explicit mention of homosexuality anymore in the text. But referring to the traditional concept of family is also problematic: not just because it refers only to a couple made up of a man and a woman, but also because male domestic violence against women and children has been a taboo in traditional concepts of family. Young people in Lithuania need information about modern concepts of partnership and family!”

The European Parliament and the European Commission will closely monitor the application of the law and its effects on the fundamental rights of Lithuanian citizens—including minors. The annual Baltic Pride will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on the 7th and 8th May.


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