VILNIUS -Lithuanian parliament defeated by just two votes a controversial law that would have banned pride parades and, in the words of one MEP, “effectively made homosexuality illegal”.
In a first reading, 31 legislators voted in favour and seven were against the draft law that envisages fines from 2,000 to 10,000 litas for “publicly promoting homosexual relations”, with the vast majority of parliamentarians abstaining or not voting. The second reading is expected in December.
“Any evil cannot be propagated. Such events like gay parades do great harm to children,” Petras Grazulis, the legislator who tabled the draft legislation told AFP after the vote.
“We are deeply concerned that the proposed amendments to the Administrative Code will violate the human rights of freedom of expression and assembly” said Vladimir Simonko, Chairman of the Lithuanian Gay League and one of the co-organizers of the 2010 Baltic gay pride.
Earlier this year, Lithuania held its first ever gay pride parade. About 500 marchers were met by approximately 1,000 protesters turned up at the march to throw stones, bottles and scream insults at the parade.
The parade was allowed to go through by a last minute court ruling that overturned a previous lower court ruling in favor of Prosecutor General Raimondas Petrauskas, who had attempted to ban the event over security concerns despite police commments indicating there would be no problems.