A gathering was held this week outside of the Lithuanian permanent representation in Brussels by Members of the European Parliament’s Intergroup and various NGOs to protest a law which aims to bans the discussion of homosexuality in Lithuanian school.

The amendment to “the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information” legislation adds “propaganda of homosexuality and bisexuality” as one of the detrimental effects on minors.

Effectively, any information on homosexuality and bisexuality is banned from schools and any other places where it can be accessed by youth.

“It is my duty as an elected member of the European Parliament to act strongly against grave attempts to diminish human rights of EU citizens”, said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup.

“This new law is a spit in the face of the European values. To limit freedom of expression based on homophobia is a clear breach of EU’s fundamental rights and principles,” he said.

Recent research had shown that young gays and lesbians experience high levels of physical and psychological violence, and a high rate of suicide, across the European Union.

“All this suffering is caused by stigmatisation, intolerance and lack of access to information about homosexuality which young people need, both to understand their identity and to respect others differences,” commented Simon Maljevac Chairperson of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has asked President Valdas Adamkus to veto the proposed law which was recently passed by Lithuania’s parliament.

“By stigmatising issues of sexual orientation as shameful, the law would have a devastating effect on the development of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of LGBT Program at Human Rights Watch.

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