the workplace against gays and lesbians has been banned
by lawmakers in Latvia, reversing an earlier decision that
earned them sharp criticism both at home and abroad,
Agence France-Presse reports. Forty-six of the 84
lawmakers present in the 100-seat parliament for the
session voted on Thursday in favor of an amendment to impose
the ban, 35 against, and three abstained.
reverses a vote in June that failed to endorse a ban on
discrimination against employees who are part of sexual
minorities, drawing stinging attacks not only from
human rights and gay and lesbian groups but also from
Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis and President Vaira
Vike-Freiberga, says AFP.
parliamentarians' alleged disregard for serious issues
and accused them of intolerance, while Vike-Freiberga vetoed
the legislation, telling parliament to review it to
ensure that discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation is clearly banned in Latvia.
Union commissioner for employment, social affairs, and equal
opportunities, Vladimir Spila, also expressed concern. Janis
Smits, from the centrist Latvia First Party, voted
against the amendment in June and on Thursday. "This
ban means that a small, marginal group will be
protected, while other groups of normal people can still be
discriminated against," Smits, whose party claims to
support Christian and family values, told AFP.
In the June vote
on the amendment, Smits had said that including a ban on
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation would
"open the floodgates to pederasty, lesbianism,
pedophilia, zoophilia, and will legalize other
pathologies." (The Advocate)