Lithuanian MEP Viktor Uspaskich was expelled from the Renew Europe group on Wednesday after he referred to gay and trans people as “perverts” and “deviants.”
“There is no place for homophobia in the Renew Europe family,” the group’s president Dacian Cioloș said in a statement.
“As a political family, we are deeply committed to safeguarding and expanding the rights of LGBTI+ people. Mr. Uspaskich’s comments are incompatible with the values we hold dear and put himself outside of our family,” he said.
In a Facebook video posted on January 10, Uspaskich — who serves as leader of the Lithuanian Labor Party — said that in some European countries it is “dangerous” to be “a representative of a natural orientation.”
“I speak exactly about perverts, the deviants — fate, life has given them such a life, it’s not their fault that in male clothes they feel like women, the majority of people do not go and advertize themselves,” he said. “Those who put their dick under a skirt and go into the street and shout, they are perverts, and such things must not be tolerated.”
After colleagues both within the Renew Europe group and in other political families raised concerns about the comments, Uspaskich apologized but insisted that his words were taken out of context. Nevertheless, on Wednesday, the group voted to expel him.
“Following an internal disciplinary procedure, concluded by a vote in this evening’s Renew Europe Group meeting, Viktor Uspaskich has been expelled with immediate effect,” Cioloș said.
In an email to colleagues dated January 13 and seen by POLITICO, the Lithuanian politician said he would “like to apologize to my colleagues, for the stress and grief caused by the biased information taken from my speech.”
He said that “Lithuanian language” is “not my mother tongue, so when speaking in an informal manner, I can make mistakes” and that he “did not have in mind or referred to gay, lesbian or other people of LGBT community.”