Lithuania at Eurovision 2015: Gay and lesbian kisses make strong same-sex marriage statement

Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila's backing dancers kiss halfway through

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Lithuania played the gay rights card at the second Eurovision semi-final last night.

Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila took to the stage in Vienna on Thursday with their bubblegum pop song "This Time", itself a bit "meh" but made more memorable with some same-sex kisses thrown in.

The Eurovision Song Contest has long been popular with the gay community and last year's trans winner Conchita Wurst has become a global LGBT icon since her triumphant victory with "Rise Like a Phoenix".

Vienna has even introduced gay-themed traffic lights to present the city as a welcoming, open-minded place.

Lithuania has clearly researched its market, cleverly opting to make a statement by having its male-female backing dancers swap partners mid-way through the performance for some gay and lesbian smooches.

Same-sex relationships are legal in Lithuania but gay marriage and civil partnerships are not, making this moment especially noteworthy and historic.

Gay kisses in Eurovision have caused stirs before, notably in 2013 when Finland's Krista Siegfrids performed a pro-gay marriage song featuring a lesbian kiss. That same year, two Swedish grooms kissed during the interval show.

Vaidas describes himself as a "huge LGBT supporter". "As a straight man I am proud to have gay friends, one of my best friends is gay," he told Gay Star News. "We must find a way to live in tolerance and equality in the world, and change the major opinion about gay men and women in my country.

"People are afraid of things they don't understand. We have to show them that in this case the fear is inadequate. We must educate the subject."

 

Lithuania were one of twenty countries to qualify for Saturday night's grand final. The 'Big Five' of Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK won automatic passes, along with this year's special guest, Australia.

 

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