Lithuanian leaders give their reasons for not joining Baltic Pride march

DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

They all recognize the right of citizens to hold and freely express beliefs, but are reserved about supporting LGBT rights.

“Chapter 25 of our Constitution envisages a right for every individual to have his beliefs and express them freely in any form that is not prohibited by the law, including parades,” the President’s Office said in a comment on the Baltic Pride march.

President Dalia Grybauskaite “never takes part in any rallies”, it added, and therefore will not take part in the event.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius’ spokeswoman Evelina Butkutė-Lazdauskienė said the head of government was not scheduled to attend the event on June 18, adding that an official of the government’s office would be delegated to the Baltic Pride as a guest.

“The prime minister supports tolerance in the broad sense of the word – tolerance of self-determination, race, language, religion, beliefs – but opposes homophobic statements and other manifestations of hatred, as they run counter to the clauses of democracy,” the spokeswoman said.

Parliamentary Speaker Loreta Graužinienė on Wednesday applauded the Baltic Pride LGBTI parade scheduled to take place in Vilnius on Saturday, but said she would not join the event, as she wants to spend a day with her family.

A series of events to raise awareness of lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual and intersexual (LBGTI) issues are held in Vilnius this week, culminating with a pride march along the city’s central Gedimino Avenue on Saturday.

At least four foreign ambassadors and Sweden’s culture minister are planning to participate in the rally.

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