International Highlights 6/4/21

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Tomas Raskevicius (by REUTERS, Andrius Sytas) (International)
Tomas Raskevicius (by REUTERS, Andrius Sytas) (International)

Lithuania: same-sex partnerships

Reuters reported on May 25 that Lithuania's parliament narrowly voted against debating a bill that would legalize same-sex partnerships, with 63 in favor and 65 against. The bill's opponents worried that the bill would lead to legalizing same-sex marriage as well. Its supporters, like openly Gay MP Tomas Raskevicius, said the setback showed how "ensuring human rights is a long-term process." Raskevicius, who sponsored the bill, promised to try to introduce it again in autumn with some changes.

Japan: Equality Act

LGBTQ Nation reported on May 24 that Japan's majority party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), refused to back a LGBTQ rights bill known as the Equality Act. The LDP had pledged in April to pass an LGBT rights law by June, but LDP politicians changed their tune during negotiations. They said the bill and other anti-discrimination legislation had "gone too far." Japanese media has also reported that at least one LDP politician, Kazuo Yana, has said that people being LGBT "goes against the preservation of the human race." LDP officials have said a bill to "promote understanding" of LGBT people would be an acceptable compromise. Human Rights Watch has called the Japanese government "out of touch with Japanese public opinion" in light of the bill's failure to pass.