The Lithuanian Gay League invited swimmer Rūta Meilutytė to march in the Baltic Pride event in Vilnius this year, but received an unexpected answer from her father Saulius Meilutis.
Saulius Meilutis
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

He called gay people a "natural anomaly" and said he could not support the march.

An LGL representative had sent a letter to Meilutytė charity fund inviting the Olympic and European champion and record holder to participate in the Baltic Pride 2016 fundraising dinner.

The organization then received a letter from the fund director, Meilutytė's father Saulius, saying: “The Fund cannot support your event, because, first of all, such support is not possible according to fund‘s regulation. Secondly, I personally am not a homophobe, I know some highly educated, high-level and reputable professionals, impeccably cultured gay people, but I will never either justify, or support your parades.”

Chairman of the Lithuanian Gay League board Vladimir Simonko emphasized that this is not about the athlete, but about her father. Meilutytė has repeatedly voiced support for LGBT friends and Simonko said he would not want this response blamed on her.

Meilutytė herself later commented on the issue on her Facebook page, distancing herself from her father's statements.

"The letter today was the opinion of my Father, not my own or my fund's. I believe that there should be no place for intolerance in today's world. Each person is equally important - whomever they love, wherever they live or whatever God they believe," Meilutytė posted on Tuesday night.

Šiandieninis laiškas buvo Tėčio, bet ne mano ar mano fondo nuomonė. Manau, kad šiandieniniame pasaulyje neturi likti...

Posted by Ruta Meilutyte on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
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