“Tolerance Truck” case – freedom of assembly

April 19, 2010

“Lithuania is a catholic country, therefore a public gay event is not pleasant for Lithuanians. As long as I am a mayor, I won’t allow homosexuals to advertise themselves in the city”

– Juozas Imbrasas, fomer mayor of Vilnius

Proceedings initiated: 2008

Proceedings closed:

Case in brief: Vilnius city municipality declined to issue a certificate for the event promoting tolerance and non-discrimination

Outcome of the case: the decision of municipality did not violate subjective rights of the Lithuanian Gay League

Facts of the case:

In July 2008, a PR company requested Vilnius Municipality to issue a certificate allowing to host an EU-wide event in Vilnius. The idea of the event was to park the EU Truck “For Equality. Against Discrimination” in front of the City Hall and organize a campaign promoting tolerance and human rights around it. The truck itself was a part of the EU-wide road-trip and was co-hosted in at least 10 other EU Member States. Vilnius Municipality refused to issue a certificate.

Legal proceedings:

Subsequently, Human Rights Monitoring Institute and the Lithuanian Gay League requested Vilnius Prosecution Office to assess the decision of the Vilnius Municipality; the requested was referred to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson which in turn refused to consider it.

The Lithuanian Gay League appealed the Ombudsperson’s decision to the Vilnius Administrative Court; HRMI joined the proceedings as a third party. The Court dismissed the complaint as unfounded.

On 19 April 2010, the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the case on appeal. The Court stated that Vilnius Municipality administration, refusing certificate for the event, did not violate subjective rights (equal opportunities) of LGL. The Court also stated that both Equal Opportunities Ombudsman and Vilnius Administrative Court rightly held that it is unclear on what grounds the applicants had complained to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman. The Court rejected the argument made by the applicants, that any person feeling his or her equal opportunities had been violated may appeal to Equal Opportunities Ombudsman.

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