As Slovenia was hosting the final game in this year’s Eurobasket championship, pitting Lithuania against France, Lithuanian parliamentarian (and future Lithuanian delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) was seen leading fans in an anti-gay chant that was rebroadcast by the one of the top Lithuanian basketball internet portals, Basketnews.lt.
In the video, published on YouTube on September 22, just before the final game of the Eurobasket event, MP Petras Gražulis is seen initiating and then leading a group of Lithuanian basketball fans in a repeated chant of: “Whoever’s not jumping is a faggot!” By Sunday evening, the video had been seen by over 8,000 viewers.
Gražulis, a fervent opponent of LGBT rights, has sponsored several laws in parliament to protect minors against “detrimental information”, including Lithuania’s notorious law prohibiting the dissemination of information on the LGBT community to persons under the age of 18. According to the Lithuanian news portal DEFLI, Gražulis will join the Lithuanian delegation to one of Europe’s leading human rights organizations – the Council of Europe – in January, 2014.
As of Sunday, the YouTube video remained online, with no commentary or advisory note from Lithuania’s journalist watchdog agency that is responsible for ensuring that minors are protected against potentially harmful public information.
Update: 23 Sept 2013, 6:39 EST
The Lithuanian Gay League is considering appealing to the Lithuanian Basketball Federation and FIBA, the international basketball association, concerning the Lithuanian MP’s actions on Sunday.
LGL leader Vladimir Simonko commented to the Lithuanian news portal 15min.lt that “Both FIBA and the Lithuanian Basketball Federation should react to this situation and disassociate themselves from these fans and they should state that similar incidents will not be tolerated, and that they stand against discrimination and for respect for other people.”
Gražulis himself, meanwhile, had this to say: “What’s the problem? It’s a beautiful song, and everyone was singing. There were several hundred of us there. And if there was someone who wasn’t singing, that means they’re not of our [sexual] orientation. What can you do…”
(source: 15min.lt [in Lithuanian])