By Austin Ruse

WASHINGTON, D.C. , November 12, 2009 ( – The fight over homosexual propaganda in schools taking place between the Lithuanian and European Parliaments escalated this week with the Lithuanian Parliament (Siemas) calling on its government to file suit against the Europeans in the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU).

The argument began with passage of a Lithuanian “Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information” which prohibits promotion of “homosexual, bisexual, polygamous relations” among children under the age of 18. While the Lithuanian president subsequently vetoed the measure, the Siemas overturned his veto and the law is slated to go in effect next March.

As a consequence, in September the European Parliament (EP) voted 349-218 to condemn the new law and ask the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights to review it. The Parliament also considered what is called an “article 7” action against Lithuania, which could have resulted in Lithuania’s suspension from the European Union. Jean Lambert, a British MEP said at the time, “This law contravenes the EU Treaties, the EU Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights, and should be urgently repealed on those grounds.”

Besides the education of children and parental rights, the issue of national sovereignty is central to the debate. The Lithuanians insist they are free to enact such laws and that the European Institutions have no “competence” in them. Many Europeans have long feared what they see as inevitable EU interference in life and family matters.

The Lisbon Treaty, which among other changes would make the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights binding upon members, was defeated by Ireland two years ago at least partially over such questions of sovereignty. Irish voters eventually approved the Lisbon Treaty but only after written guarantees of sovereignty were written into the treaty.

The just-passed Lithuanian response seeks to have the European Court of Justice determine the “lawfulness” of the European Parliament resolution and to determine further that the resolution is void.  The Siemas contends that if the European resolution is not formally voided it would “become a dangerous precedent.”

The Lithuanian resolution also expressed “regret” and “deep concern” that the European Parliament attempted to “doubt the lawfulness of the law passed by the great majority of the democratically elected parliament of a member state, although this issue should not fall under the jurisdiction of the EP.”

Lithuanian Labor Party member Mecislovas Zasciurinskas asked the Lithuanian Tribune, “What do you think, is this a one time only attempt to interfere with the affairs of a sovereign state…or is this beginning of an absolute dictate? Some years back we called this ‘Moscow’s Grip,’ the tendency to meddle in everybody’s business…”

Conservative Ceslovas Stankevicius said, “This is in the competence of the Siemas, and the EP has no place getting missed up in this, because Lithuania violated no law.”

The resolution of the European Parliament is non-binding and has no force in law. However, such resolutions are used by activists to build a public relations case against the targeted country. While the Agency for Fundamental Rights is not obliged to act on the EP resolution, it could use the EP resolution as the impetus to begin an investigation.