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President vetoes anti-gay law

The President of Lithuania has vetoed a new law that would have banned the discussion of homosexuality in schools and other public places, report Human Rights Watch and news reports.

President Valdas Adamkus vetoed the "Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information". The law called for all materials that "agitate for homosexual, bisexual and polygamous relations" to be banned from schools or other public places where they can be seen by youth, on the grounds that they have a "detrimental effect" on "the development of minors."

"What were the lawmakers thinking when they passed this homophobic law?" asked Human Rights Watch. "Depriving young people of information they need to decide about their lives and protect their health is a regressive and dangerous move, and amounts to censorship."

Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have campaigned against the law, reminding Lithuania that the law runs counter to its obligations as a member of the European Union and the international community.

The country's parliament, which passed the law on 16 June, has the option of overriding the Presidential veto but only by an absolute majority.

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