Homosexual Zone

July 16, 2009

Lithuanian president expressed her disapproval of new law to keep gay info away from kids

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Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite, who took office last week, says she is upset that lawmakers passed a censorship bill that aims to keep information about homosexuality away from children.

Grybauskaite said on Thursday that although she is required to sign the bill into law, she would attempt to use constitutional tools to to propose amendments to the law later this year. She told reporters that it won’t be possible to implement the vaguely worded measure, which is set to take effect in March 2010.

She cited the vague wording of the measure, which bans the public dissemination of material deemed harmful to the “intellectual and moral development” of minors, including material that “agitates for homosexual, bisexual, and polygamous relations.”

Lithuanian lawmakers on Tuesday passed the bill which calls for banning the public dissemination of material deemed harmful to minors. The measure lists 19 examples of “detrimental” information, including material that “agitates for homosexual, bisexual, and polygamous relations,” instructions on how to make explosives and graphic depictions of violence or death.

It also bars information that gives credence to paranormal phenomena, hypnosis or “promotes bad eating.”

While critics said the text violated the freedom of speech and international standards of human rights, others said the vague wording would make it difficult to enforce.

The text does not define “public information” in detail, though it makes references to TV programs, films, computer games and advertising as well as online and print media accessible by children.

“This is absurd. I cannot even imagine how they will implement this law,” said Dainius Radzevicius, chairman of the Lithuanian Journalists Union.

Lithuania’s former president rejected the bill before he left office last week, but lawmakers voted 87-6 on Tuesday to override his veto. Forty-eight lawmakers either abstained or were absent in the 141-member legislature.

Supporters said the measure was necessary to defend traditional family values in the former Soviet republic of 3.4 million people, which joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.


December 3, 2008

Barack Obama opposes gay military ban, but warns that any action might take a year

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When it comes to President-elect Barack Obama making good on his campaign promise to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” gays and lesbians—70 percent of whom voted for him—may have to be patient. Advocates of the repeal are warning that any action might take a year or more.

Given the host of issues on Obama’s plate, they say that some delay is understandable. But it may not simply be a fiscal crisis and two wars that could put off reversing the military policy, which mandates discharge of gays or lesbians if they speak about their sexual orientation or engage in homosexual conduct.

Instead, the delay could be a result of the repeal strategy that many advocates are encouraging Obama to pursue—one that would focus on consensus building and securing the military’s support.

The president-elect stated his opposition to “don’t ask, don’t tell” during the long campaign, and he included its repeal on the transition website’s agenda of issues. The fastest way to make good on his promise would be tacking a signing order onto a military appropriations bill, which President Bush has done in the past.
But Obama isn’t planning on taking that route. “I want to make sure that when we revert ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ it has gone through a process and we’ve built a consensus or at least a clarity of that, of what my expectations are, so that it works,” he said in a September interview. Such a process, he said, would include “getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be.”

A spokesperson for Obama’s transition team, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said only that decisions would not be made until the national security team is in place.

A slow approach to change, however, worries Aaron Belkin, a leading expert on the issue of gays in the military, who says it likely will prolong the process without ensuring success. In the 24 foreign countries that overturned similar bans, he says, not once was the process initiated by the military. An early Obama supporter, Gen. Merrill McPeak, has even cautioned against repeal in remarks that Obama declined to repudiate publicly.

“Even the most hardcore opponents in the military understand that repeal is inevitable,” Belkin says. “But if you give them the option to weigh in, they will kick and scream for 50 years. Unless they are told what to do, the change will not happen.”

In fact, he warns, giving the opposition time to mobilize could hurt the repeal’s chances. That’s what happened when President Clinton attempted to make good on his campaign promise to allow gays into the military, sparking the fight that led to the passage of “don’t ask, don’t tell” as a compromise bill.

Most advocates of repeal, however, downplay the probability of a strong opposition. They point out that an ABC poll this summer found 78 percent of Americans in favor of gays serving openly in the military. More than 100 retired admirals and generals signed a letter as of last week calling for repeal, while a bill seeking to overturn the ban in Congress has accumulated 149 cosponsors.

Establishing consensus will take time, and repeal supporters say that overturning the ban might not happen until the end of 2009 or 2010.

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