by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
Lithuania’s “Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information” took effect March 1.
It bans information that promotes sexual relationships, “denigrates family values” or encourages a non-heterosexual concept of marriage and family.
Such information is prohibited when it could be accessed by a minor, such as in magazines and libraries and on the Internet.
Earlier versions of the bill specifically banned “information which agitates for homosexual, bisexual and polygamous relations.”
“The latest version of the law is marginally better than earlier drafts (but) the European Union will not let a member state restrict its citizens’ fundamental rights,” said Michael Cashman, co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT 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 “Lithuanian people, including young people, are the victims of parliamentarians’ outdated fears.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 21st century.”
Amnesty International’s John Dalhuisen said the new law violates “freedom of expression and will directly discriminate against people on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“It will stigmatize gay and lesbian people and exposes advocates for their rights to the risk of censorship and financial penalties,” he said. “This law is an anachronism in the European Union.”