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2011 06 20
From ban to protection: sexual orientation discrimination prohibited in ads
Lithuanian Parliament responded to the call of LGL and other human rights groups to ensure that public information serves to enhance equality, tolerance and respect for human rights for all, including LGBT people and to scrap the discriminatory provision banning any manifestation of sexual orientation in TV and radio ads. 
The amended Article 39 of the Law on Provision of Information now states that advertising and audiovisual commercial communication must not prejudice respect for human dignity, discrimination or fostering of discrimination on grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation or ethnic origin, nationality, citizenship, religion or faith, disability, and ageneither must itbe offensive to religious or political beliefs, encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety, or behaviour largely detrimental  to environmental protection.
During the heated debate at the plenary session of June 16 alternative amendments proposed by Petras Gražulis, Order and Justice MP who argued for not including in the law the prohibition to discriminate because of sexual orientation, were rejected. 
“I have no intention of despising any person who has any vice, whether he is an alcoholic or a drug addict or a kleptomaniac or has any other problem a person may have. That's a weak person. It’s not my right to condemn him, but to make him a hero and place him next to faith; well, I'm sorry”, Mr. Gražulis shouted from the Seimas stand as reported by
Valentinas Stundys, who proposed the amendment to the Law on the Provision of Information to the Public that would prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, maintained that by proposing his amendments Mr. Gražulis was led by his emotions rather than by common sense.
“Mr. Gražulis should not mislead the public and create waves of emotions, because it looks as if he failed to understand something and after noticing one word got frightened and simply started getting delirious. I reject all of his strange insinuations and encourage him to think by engaging what a man has best”, Mr. Stundys said.
A. Čaplikas of the Liberal and Centre Union seconded him and added that he was starting to suspect that there was “something wrong” with Mr. Gražulis.
“Someone fighting so hard against homosexuality presumably has issues of his own that he is afraid to confess. Well, I don’t know why, but that's just the way it seems to me. This is a normal law, European and civilised, but a storm is being created in a teacup, invoking morality, the Church, and Christianity. I’m just scared by such people. I don’t believe them”, Mr. Čaplikas said.
Some parliamentarians clearly supported Mr. Gražulis’ side. They insisted that the prohibition of discrimination would prevent the expression of any opinion about homosexuality.
“Sir, you wish to introduce the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. That’s really not the same. Sir, you are a literate person. Have you cleared your actions with your confessor? You're evidently trying to deceive us. This is the first time I've seen such a cunning colleague”, Conservative Kazimieras Uoka retorted.
He agreed with the opinion that the prohibition of discrimination against sexual minorities would open the way to their propagation.
“By removing the prohibition against encouraging manifestations of sexual orientation, you entrench in Lithuanian law the encouragement, implementation, and dissemination in the public space of sexual orientation, including sexual perversions”, Rimantas Smetona said, explaining how he understood the law would be adopted.
Mr. Stundys retorted that encouragement is prohibited by another law, the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. Prohibitions stipulated in this law are not restricted by the amendments to the Law on the Provision of Information to the Public adopted on June 16.
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