Riga City Council will decide on homosexuality propaganda ban

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Janis Smits

Riga City Council informs that the city’s Safety, Public Order and Corruption Prevention Issues Committee has submitted a proposal to the city council to ban the propaganda of homosexualism [sic] in the administrative territory of Riga.

On Thursday, the committee accepted amendments in the binding regulations about public order in the municipality. City Council member Jānis Šmits (‘Honor to Serve Riga’ party) has proposed to add an item to the regulations, which forbids “propaganda of homosexualism [sic].”

Mr. Šmits says in his explanation, that the suggestion has been prepared considering the norm found in Satversme (Constitution of Latvia) “which prescribes limitations to protect other people’s rights and morals.” However, it has not been defined what can be considered to be such propaganda.

The Legal Directorate [of the Riga City Council] said that such ban “can be seen as a violation of human rights.” Violations of the European Human Rights Convention and the Latvian Constitution would occur if such norm were included in the binding regulations of the municipality. The legal documents state that everyone has the right express their beliefs freely.

The Legal Directorate also reminds that the [Latvian] Ombudsman, when commenting on the constitutional norm about protection of morality, indicated that this norm allows for the possibility of limiting the freedom of speech, if such limitation was commensurate to its legal goal. The Ombudsman has also said that in a democratic society different opinions need to be respected; including those opinions that are against the beliefs of the majority. Limitations can only be imposed based on the aforementioned principles.

The final decision about amendments to the binding regulations will need to be taken by the Riga City Council.

Published by Delfi.lv on April 26, 2012; Translated by Skapis.eu


Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flickr_-_Saeima__9.Saeimas_deput%C4%81ts_J%C4%81nis_%C5%A0mits.jpg

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