VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda is on Monday meeting with a mother who is fighting for the rights of her child and other LGBTQ people.
Rasa Raciene, a doctor by profession, says she is seeking a meeting with Nauseda to ask that the president and his circle "spread rhetoric that unites, rather than divides Lithuania".
She says she daily hears remarks, threats of violence and abusive comments from those around her, even from her family, saying that LGBTQ people "do not belong in our society".
"My heart is in pain because all these words are about my child," she says. "Every day, I worry that something may happen to my child, that all the bullying and hate in the public space will destroy my child emotionally and break him. Believe me, it is unbearable, it is humiliating and it hurts me to the core."
Raciene is also asking the president to talk with the community – children, their parents and NGOs defending LGBTQ rights – about the problems of LGBTQ people, rather than with "third parties".
The woman is also seeking a personal promise from the president that Lithuania will adopt a respectful and dignified partnership law.
Nauseda told reporters on Thursday that he would met Raciene on Monday.
"I am ready to talk; I am ready to hear", he said.
However, the president noted that the problem of hatred is much bigger.
"When the mother speaks about bullying, about threats, we all face this phenomenon today, regardless of sexual orientation. There is clearly too much confrontation in Lithuania today," Nauseda said.
"It will be really interesting for me to talk with her about her views on the persecution of other groups in society for thinking differently than this group," he added.
Liberal public figures and politicians have criticized Nauseda for his conservative stance on LGBTQ issues and have called for a stronger defense of the community's rights.
A report published last week by the non-governmental Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights shows that same-sex couples experience inequality and seek to have their relationships legally recognized in a partnership law.
Opponents say the report fails to meet the criteria for a representative comprehensive study.
Currently, Lithuanian laws do not recognize either opposite-sex or same-sex civil partnerships. Several previous attempts by liberal politicians to legislate civil partnerships fell through at an early stage of the parliamentary process.