Lithuanian MEP Viktor Uspaskich has been ordered to apologise for anti-LGBT+ remarks or face removal from his political grouping.
Uspaskich, who represents Lithuania’s centre-left Labour Party in the European Parliament, faced anger over a live Facebook video.
In the clip on Sunday, he claimed: “Today, in some European countries, it is dangerous to say that you are a representative of natural orientation, it has already become dangerous.”
Referring to LGBT+ people with a homophobic slur, he continued: “Most of these people do not advertise, but those who put their d**k under a skirt and go into the street and shout, they are perverts, and such things must not be tolerated.”
Lithuanian MEP Viktor Uspaskich challenged over ‘disgusting homophobic hate speech’
The video was called out by Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, the country’s only out lawmaker, who represents the pro-LGBT+ Freedom Party in Lithuania’s parliament.
Challenging the MEP’s “disgusting” homophobia on Facebook, he added: “I have only one question: is it all right when a member of the European Parliament publicly spreads homophobic hate speech?”
The clip has also landed Uspaskich in trouble with Renew, the centrist grouping in the European Parliament that also includes French president Emmanuel Macron‘s En Marche party, and Germany’s opposition Free Democratic Party.
The grouping’s leader in the European Parliament, former Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș, has warned Uspaskich he could face removal from the group if he does not immediately withdraw his remarks and apologise.
Apologise for homophobia or face removal, European Parliament group leader warns
According to Euractiv, Cioloș informed him: “I must insist that you take back these despicable homophobic remarks and apologise to both the public and to your colleagues in Renew Europe for the hurt you have inflicted.
“I expect this from you no later than Thursday 14 January at noon (1100 GMT).”
Cioloș said it would be up to MEPs to decide whether the “explanation and apology is sufficient to allow you to remain in our group”, adding that if there is no reply or the apology is insufficient, he would hold a ballot seeking Uspaskich’s removal.
LGBT+ people have few legal rights in Lithuania, though Raskevičius previously revealed that a proposal for civil unions would go before the country’s parliament in March.