Fairy tale banned by Lithuania 'anti-propaganda' law

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights issued this press release today:

Lithuania has banned the children's book "Gintarinė širdis" from anywhere it could be accessible to children under age 14.
Lithuania has banned the children’s book “Gintarinė širdis” from anywhere it could be accessible to children under age 14.

Fairy tale banned under Lithuanian ‘anti-propaganda’ law
Wednesday, the Lithuanian Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics concluded that a book containing fairy tales for children violates the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information, and should be made unavailable to children under 14.
The book “Gintarinė širdis” (“Amber heart”) contains fairy tales for children about minorities. In two of the stories, someone falls in love with another person of the same sex.
The Office considers this “harmful, primitive and purposeful propaganda of homosexuality.”
The book also contains tales about inter-racial relationships, gender equality, and the acceptance of other minorities. It was removed from shelves, and is no longer in the database of the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences, its publisher.
The law, which entered into force in 2010, does not explicitly refer to homosexual relations, but instead prohibits “promotion of sexual relations or other conceptions of concluding a marriage or creating a family other than established in the Constitution or the Civil Code”. However, the effect proves to be exactly the same.
[Editor’s note: Russia in 2013 imposed its ban on positive statements about homosexuality where children might see or hear them. The Lithuanian parliament is considering passing a similar measure.  Similar bills have been repeatedly discussed in Ukraine, but that country has not passed one. Moldova did, but repealed it last October, a few months after it was enacted. Kyrgystan is currently considering such a proposal.]
Sophie in ‘t Veld, MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: “This is a blatant violation of EU values. The EU guarantees freedom of expression, and the liberty to receive and impart information—including fairy tales! Like all other EU citizens, Lithuanians are entitled to this fundamental freedom.”

Ulrike Lunacek of Austria, member of the European Parliament. (Photo courtesy of de.electionsmeter.com)
Ulrike Lunacek of Austria, member of the European Parliament. (Photo courtesy of de.electionsmeter.com)

“The Commission cannot continue turning a blind eye, and it must act now!”
Ulrike Lunacek, MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “What fairy tales do these ‘experts’ live in? What’s next, banning Snow White for promoting the concept of seven cohabiting dwarves?”
“What children need, like all people, is honest and non-discriminatory information about all forms of partnership and family. Hiding facts from young people only generates prejudice and hate, something we Europeans stand united against.”
“We’ll work strongly against this as soon as the EU election [May  22 to 25] is over.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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