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Antigay Lithuanian Law Amended


Lithuanian's parliament, the Seimas, voted Tuesday to remove antigay language in a controversial law that restricted information available to children.

The Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information, passed last summer by the Seimas, prohibited the dissemination of various types of information deemed detrimental to the youth.

According to USA Today, on top of images of sex, death, and severe injury, the paranormal, foul language, and poor eating habits, the original legislation also barred anything that "agitates for homosexual, bisexual, and polygamous relations."

Following criticism from human rights groups, President Dalia Grybauskaite established a committee to review the law before it was due to go into effect in March 2010.

With the 58-4 vote on Tuesday, the law was revised to ban information "encouraging the sexual abuse of minors, sexual relations between minors, and other sexual relations."

Grybauskaite, who previously criticized the language in the original bill, was pleased with the outcome.

"The homophobic clauses have been removed. The law is in line with European standards," Grybauskaite's spokesman, Linas Balsys, told Agence France-Presse.

It was debated that the original law would have violated the European Convention for the Protections of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom. Ratified in 1995 by the nation, the Convention protects freedom of expression and inhibits discrimination.

Vladimir Simonko, head of the Lithuanian Gay League, still finds fault with the approved legislation.

While removing explicitly homophobic language, the amended law still bars the promotion of "any concept of the family other than that set down in the constitution," which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

"From now on, any of our public events could fall under that clause and be banned," Simonko said, reports AFP.

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