By Alex Bush

VILNUS, Lithuania, July 17, 2009 ( – The Siemas, the Lithuanian Parliamentary body, earlier this week overturned former President Valdas Adamkus' veto of the recently passed law that will ban the public dissemination to children of harmful materials, including homosexual propoganda.  The new President, Dalia Grybauskait, who was inaugurated on Sunday, is now forced to sign the law, despite the fact that she has expressed virulent opposition to the legislation.

The original law was passed by a margin of 67-3, with 67 members either not present to vote or abstaining.  After the law was vetoed, 71 votes were required to overturn the veto, 50% plus 1 of the 141 member body.  The veto was overturned by a vote of 87-6 while 48 members either abstained or were absent from the vote.

The law will prohibit the dissemination of public information that is recognized in general to have a negative effect on the mental, physical, intellectual, and moral development of youth. This includes the spreading of information that “agitates for homosexual, bisexual relations, or polygamy.”

It also bans “the portrayal of physical or psychological violence, displaying a dead or mutilated body, [and] information that arouses fear or horror or that encourages self abuse or suicide.”

“We have finally taken a step which will help Lithuania raise healthy and mentally sound generations unaffected by the rotten culture that is now overwhelming them,” said Petras Grazulis, a lawmaker who co-sponsored the bill.

Pro-homosexual groups, on the other hand, have condemned the law, calling it “discriminatory.”

Amnesty International said that they are concerned the law will “institutionalise homophobia, impeding the work of human rights defenders and furthering the stigmatization of and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

“Far from protecting children, the law deprives young people of their right to freedom of expression and access to information and risks isolating children who are already amongst the most at risk of violence at school or within the family,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's researcher on Discrimination in Europe.

On the other hand, MP Jaroslaw Narkiewicz said in an interview with Nasz Dziennik, a Polish Catholic daily, “Members of parliament came to a conclusion, that behavior which has a destructive effect on children cannot be tolerated. The present situation in the media influenced that.”

“We see growing violence in the media, to which minors have access. We also see attempts to present homosexuality or bisexuality in a positive way, not only in entertainment programs or in talk shows, but also in educational shows. While the fact that these kinds of behaviors are against natural law and Christianity, is largely forgotten,” he said.

Narkiewicz, however, criticized the law for lacking meaningful penalties that would prevent groups from violating the law.

Related Coverage:

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Lithuania President Vetoes Law Banning Homosexual Propaganda in Schools