Update: the deadline for signing has passed and the bill did not become law [27 June 2009]. IHEU president, Sonja Eggerickx, has urged the president of the Republic of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, to refuse to sign a law that would ban information on homosexuality from schools. The president has until June 26, 2009 to decide if he will sign the “Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information.”
“IHEU is very concerned by this proposed law, believing it would reinforce discrimination based on sexual orientation and deny the right to freedom of expression,” wrote Ms. Eggerickx, adding that, “By denying young people access to balanced information about sexual orientation the legislation risks further isolating youth who are already among the most at risk for committing suicide or suffering hate crimes.”
The Lithuanian parliament passed the “Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information” on 16 June 2009. The law prohibits materials “that agitate for homosexual, bisexual and polygamous relations” from being made available in schools and any other places where they could be accessed by young people. It classes information on homosexuality as having a “detrimental effect to the development of minors”, alongside materials such as the portrayal of physical or psychological violence, the display of a dead or cruelly mutilated body of a person, and information that arouses fear or horror, or encourages self-mutilation or suicide.
Humanist groups and individuals are encouraged to appeal to President Adamkus to not sign the law, by sending faxes to +370 5 2664145 before June 26. The text of the IHEU letter is available (1 page – see below).
An English translation of the “Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information” is available for download (9 pages – see below).
A Baltic Times news report on the proposed law is available here: http://baltictimes.com/news/articles/23065/