by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
The Lithuanian Parliament on July 14 overrode a presidential veto of a bill that bans from schools and public places any information that “agitate(s) for homosexual, bisexual and polygamous relations.” The vote was 87-6.
The Parliament, or Seimas, previously had passed the measure 67-3, with 67 MPs not voting. Seventy-one votes were needed for an override.
The new statute is called the “Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information.”
An explanatory note attached to it says: “The propagation of a nontraditional sexual orientation and exposure to information containing positive coverage of homosexual relations may cause negative consequences for the physical, mental and, first and foremost, moral development of minors.”
The law specifically states that it is meant to cover movies and Web sites, so domestic and foreign gay Web sites might now be banned in Lithuania, along with hundreds of films such as “Milk” and “La Cage aux Folles.”
The law also bans information that promotes hypnosis, “bad eating,” paranormal phenomena, gambling, lotteries, physical passivity and other things legislators consider “detrimental” to minors’ bodies or thought processes.
The measure’s sponsor said it protects Lithuanian youth from “the rotten culture that is now overwhelming them.”
The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association said the law “seriously undermines the right to education and can have detrimental effects to young people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual as they are now officially banned from receiving any information and support.”
Amnesty International said the law “denies the right to freedom of expression and deprives students’ access to the support and protection they may need.”