politician has become the new head of the Latvian
parliament's human rights committee. Janis Smits,
who has condemned homosexuality as a sin, has
been elected by fellow parliament members to the
post, reports BBC News.
Smits is notorious for expressing the view that
gay people are degenerate. He has also been a leading
voice against proposed legislation that would protect
individuals from discrimination on the basis of their
sexuality. In June he advocated that the
government should eliminate references to
homosexuality in an antidiscrimination bill, describing the
measure as "the legislation of sexual perversions."
Local human rights organizations were
disappointed by Smits's elevation to the post, and
members of the European Parliament's gay rights group
said that Latvian MPs did not take into consideration his
history of discrimination and hatred.
Smits's party, however, has said he will uphold
the rights of all individuals in society. (The